Interview with Nightwish 110

Source: Kerrang!

- Nightwish continue their quest for world domination by becoming the first Finnish band ever to tour China…

At over 4000 miles in length, The Great Wall Of China stands at the longest man-made structure in the world. Rising and falling over rugged, Asian mountain terrain like a stone snake lying across the landscape, the sheer scale of the thing is staggering.
Braced against the cruel winter chill that’s covered the surrounding mountains in an icing-sugar layer of snow, Anette Olzon’s face extends into a beaming smile of amazement from behind the scarf pulled up over her face.
“I honestly can’t believe I am here,” she says in disbelief, as she and her bandmates pose for photos at one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
The rest of Nightwish nod in agreement, basking in the strange opportunities being in a touring rock band can afford you as they negotiate their way carefully over The Wall’s treacherously icy surface. But for Olzon, it’s more than simply a perk of her new job. China may be a long way from Finland, but it’s even further away from the singer’s life little more than a year ago.
In December 2006—just over a year after Tarja Turunen was sacked from Nightwish by an open letter from her long-time bandmates – keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, bassist Marco Heitala, guitarist Emppu Vuorinen and drummer Jukka Nevalainen—Olzon received the news that she had been picked to be the new vocalist for the Finnish opera-metallers, and her whole life changed.
“It’s very strange to think that a year ago nobody even knew I was the singer in Nightwish because it was kept so secret,” she says. “And now, here I am, in China, doing this, my job.”
She turns and takes in a final view from the Wall over the mountain, before adding, “It almost doesn’t seem real somehow.”

But real it is. Still, Olzon is allowed to feel bewildered. Last year’s Dark Passion Play album—Nightwish’s sixth offering—has sold over 100,000 copies in Finland alone since its release last September. And it’s not jogging too far behind in other countries either, racking up a whopping 50,000 sales in the UK. In the last 12 months, not only has the Swedish-born 36-year-old gone from a life of a wife, mother and stage actress, to fronting Finland’s biggest metal band, but she’s also gone from never having been in a rock band before to singing to thousands of fans in arenas, all across the globe. Before spring is over, she’ll have stamps from Japan, Australia, and the UK in her passport. And all that’s got to take some getting used to.
“This last year has brought me so many new things,” she admits. “Touring, doing videos, recording…Every day, something new happens that I’ve never done before. There’s been a lot of strange new experiences, but this is unbelievable!”
As Nightwish make their way across Tiananmen Square—overbearingly grey, the size of three football pitches—what hits you hardest about China is the unforgiving cold that blows across the imposing square’s expanse.
“I actually prefer the cold temperature to hot,” remarks Tuomas Holopainen, despite the fact that anyone not wearing gloves feels like they’re about to lose their fingers. “I am a Viking, I like the cold.”
As Holopainen, tall, with Johnny Depp-shaggy hair and beard, and his mob pose for K!’s photos in front of the entrance to the Forbidden City, people gather round. Some take pictures of their own, others simply gawp at what’s going on. It’s a touch creepy, something that’s not lost on Olzon.
“In Japan, they would stand all day just watching you like you’re some kind of icon or something,” she recalls from a recent trip there. “It was really weird, like, ‘Don’t you have anything else to do?’. They’d just stand there, looking and following you around, and they’ll do it for hours. I don’t get it. I have never been a fanatic like that. If I had been maybe I would understand.”
“I’m used to people staring, asking for autographs, pictures, but this is different,” adds Holopainen. “Probably none of these people have even heard of Nightwish before.”
Maybe not, but they’re aware enough to notice that the five Scandinavians that have come to town are someones.

Indeed, it’s tricky to figure out just now many people in China actually know who Nightwish are. China is new territory for Nightwish. In fact, it’s new territory for Finnish rock music full stop. Not even global stars HIM have made the trek here yet, and consequently nobody’s sure what to expect. Official sales figures are respectable enough—4,500 copies of Dark Passion Play shifted so far—but there’s no telling how many bootlegs have changed hands.
“I don’t know anything about Chinese music, but it’s a big country,” muses Nevalainen. “There’s over a billion people here, so even as an underground thing, there could be a lot of people [who are potential fans]. But we’ll find out.”
In days gone by, China may have been restrictive when it came to the freedoms it afforded arts like music, but now the Chinese government have started to take a more relaxed stance. The metal scene here may still be in its infancy, but it’s undeniably growing, as confirmed by the sheer number of journalists present at a press conference held for the band in a hotel bar. Surprisingly specific, detailed questions about the music are directed to Holopainen, but it’s Olzon’s addition to the band the media want to know about, even in China. It’s the same questions every European and American magazines have been asking since she came on board (How do you feel filling Turunen’s shoes? Has it been difficult joining a band as big as Nightwish?), but there’s something about them coming from a Chinese journalist, through a translator, that rams home just how big Nightwish have become.
In front of this audience of Chinese press, Olzon is quiet and composed, but in one-to-one conversation she’s open with a friendly demeanor. And onstage, she fits fronting a rock band more naturally than her predecessor Turunen, whose classical training and openness about her lack of interest in rock music was somewhat at odds with her role in the band.
“I have never done so much traveling as this, I’m still adjusting to life on the road,” she confesses. “And sometimes I say something is hard or whatever and the guys go ‘Pff!’ I’m like ‘Hey, I haven’t done this for 10 years like you!’. For them it’s nothing, because they’re used to it, for me it’s all new, and it’s all coming at once.”
As anyone who’s ever spent time on the road will tell you, days are long when you’re killing tie—traveling all day to get to a show and waiting for your stage time to come.
“The first shock for me was how alone you can sometimes feel,” Olzon reveals. “Even on tour with a band of five people and a touring crew, you spend a lot of time alone. That has been the hardest adjustment. The rest of the band are used to switching off on a plane or in the bus. When we check in the hotel, sometimes everyone goes straight to their room. And I am very social, so I’ve had to adjust to how people fine their own time on tour.”
The other big adjustment for Olzon has been the fame that being in Nightwish has catapulted her into. In Finland, her joining the band wasn’t just the preserve of the music press, it was the fodder for celebrity magazines. Before she was officially announced as Turunen’s replacement, there were almost MI5 levels of secrecy surrounding her appointment and now, she’s become an A-list celebrity.
“I don’t like the famous side of this,” she admits. “I am not a person that wants attention. I am quite a normal person, and I find it quite hard sometimes when the people recognize me. I like being the singer, but there are some things that go with it that are just very hard to deal with. At home they ring on my door and want an autograph, or at my kid’s school the other parents want an autograph. That’s okay, but now I have had to install an alarm system in my house because of the people who come in the evening, checking me out I don’t like that side much.”
How has this affected your family?
“My personal life is something I am very private about, and I will never talk about it,” she says with a snap. “And of course my family are very proud, and they may want to say things because they are so proud, but they know not to talk.
“Newspapers call my family, but they know not to say anything,” Olzon adds. “Of course, my son would like to be in all the magazines, he wants to be famous, but I have told him that if he wants that he needs to become a rock star himself first!”
She pauses for some thought, perhaps conscious that she’s starting to sounds a little negative about her experiences in the band so far.
“Being onstage is the best thing on tour. The only thing that we live for,” she smiles. “That hour and a half is just the best. It doesn’t matter if we have had a fight, it doesn’t matter if our plane was late, everything goes away for that one and a half hours. When you get the rush from the audience and each other, it makes everything seem alright.”
The last time Kerrang! Put Nightwish on the cover (K!1076) in 2005, the article noticed a relationship between Turunen and the rest of the band that wasn’t so much strained as non-existent. Arriving for the photo shoot, Turunen didn’t get so much as a hello from her bandmates, and through the backlash at the time from fans on the internet was furious for suggesting something was amiss, a few short months later, Turunen got that letter.
With Olzon, however, things are different. There’s a camaraderie, a friendship, between the band and their new singer that’s clearly visible. At the Great Wall, Holopainen purchases a purple hat that looks like it’d be much better keeping your teapot warm than making you look cool.
“I like it,” chuckles Olzon. “It’s nice to see a man showing his feminine side!
Half mock-horrified, Holopainen defends his new purple headgear with a laugh.
“I think it looks cool,” he smirks.
“Oh yeah, and when you’re done with it, you can give it to your mother,” comes Olzon’s reply. And the pair collapse in a fit of giggles.

As lunchtime descends, we head to a restaurant for an enormous feast laid on by the gig promoter. Forget egg-fried rice and beef in black been sauce, this is the sort of cuisine you’d more expect to see on Fear Factor than a restaurant menu. Pig’s tongues, cow stomach… It’s all here, the real taste of China.
“What is that?” someone asks, poking gingerly at the contents of a bowl full of squishy stuff. At some point during this mean every member of Nightwish will utter those words, as plate after plate is placed on the table.
As dare follows dare, band and crew nibble at increasingly more exotic and frankly, horrible-looking bits of animal. One crew member jokes that this is the sort of thing European butchers throw away. Another bowl appears and it met with puzzled stares.
“It lives in the sea,” offers the band’s translator, Larry, unhelpfully. Whatever it is, it’s clearly not a fish, and though Heitala and Holopainen give it a try, Olzon is happy to keep this mystery of the deep exactly that.
“I cannot eat those things,” she says, dismissing this course with a raise of her hand. “I get a really bad stomach every time we travel. When we were in Scandinavia, even, I got ill. So somewhere like this is really not the right place for me!”
“I like to try new things, and one of the best things of being in a band is you can gather experiences,” Holoapainen says. “But China really tests you. It’s so different to anywhere else I’ve ever been. It’s like being on the moon!”

The venue for Nightwish’s show in Beijing—the Haidian Exibition Theatre—certainly doesn’t feel like home either.
Imagine the production values of the music tent at a real ale festival put in side a freezing cold warehouse and you wouldn’t be far off. The stage is quite obviously a temporary feature of this cavernous room, and it’s clear that the only reason this is a venue is because it’s a building big enough to fit a stage and an audience into. There’s not even a bar, just a table selling cans of Coke and bottled water. There are however, policemen everywhere: on the door, in the toilets, wandering through the crowd… As if someone’s expecting the 1,300 people here to see Nightwish to start a riot at any second. Hardly.
Wander upstairs, and you’ll find that the dressing room facilities aren’t much more glamorous or comfortable either. In various chairs around the room, roadies nap in the uncomfortable looking yogic positions that come naturally to hardened travelers used to catching 40 winks on the go. Everyone else sits in near silence, tapping away on Blackberries and laptops, or simply staring into space. And everyone, except Olzon, is smoking, filling the room with a thick, pungent smog.
“One Euro!” proclaims Vuorinen, clutching a packet of Marlboro bought that afternoon in delight. He’s happier with his purchase than with the toilet, a porcelain hole at ground level, which he eyes suspiciously before deciding that the challenge of excreting into such a thing is not one that he’s up to.
But nobody complains about the venue, or the conditions, not aloud anyway.
“Lots of things here don’t work, things maybe don’t work as smoothly as we’re used to,” muses Holopainen, reclining into a sofa, “but everyone is working really hard to make things happen. You appreciate how much work goes into putting on a show like this. The people here have worked really hard to make something from nothing, and you realize that that’s what’s important here.”
Coming to China isn’t just an exciting break for the usual stops of touring for Holopainen. During the writing of Dark Passion Play, he faced incredible uncertainty about the future of the band, about whether they’d well and truly scuppered themselves by firing Turunen.
“Everyone had more faith in us than I did,” he recalls. “I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if people would still care, or if people would turn our backs on us because they liked Tarja. It was a very strange time, there was a lot of pressure. We got booked for shows in arenas in Finland before the album had even come out, which was scary, because I really didn’t know if we would fail or not. I almost felt like we were setting ourselves up to fail.
“But when the album was finally released, I felt like a boulder had been lifted off my shoulders,” Holopainen adds. “All the uncertainty and pressure just vanished.”
As the lights go down, there’s uncertainty in the air again. But this time it’s uncertainty—and excitement—of doing something new. And as Nightwish roll out their operatic metal splendor for the first time ever in China, Beijing submits.
And although there’s no moshing, and it’s with hesitation that the crowd follow the frontwoman’s lead to pump their fists in the air, there isn’t a single person here not completely caught up in the feeling of occasion.
“For me, one of the main things about going on tour is gathering experiences, both onstage and offstage,” Holopainen adds after the show on the bus back to the hotel. “And this is what this is. This trip had nothing to do with money, believe me. But we are the first Finnish band to play in China, and that’s worth coming for on it’s own.”

Надписи на фотографиях:
-Nightwish reveal some of their China trip highlights…

Anette: “I love Starbucks! When you’re traveling like this, you get our of routine, so when you know you can go somewhere and get something that’s the same wherever you are, it’s fantastic! I went to Starbucks by the Great Wall for a sandwich!”

Anette: “I take millions of pictures on tour. In China, I’ve just been taking pictures of everything. Not just things like the Tiananmen Square, but everyday things that are unusual to me. There was a road sign with a trumpet with a line through it, which I thought was funny. It’s nice to come home with a lot of pictures and memories.”

Tuomas: “Sushi is my favorite food. I love it. Japan is great to tour because of the food. We did some secret shows last year as Sushi Patrol, that’s our code-name!”

Ревью концерта:
Finnish metal gods Nightwish are headed our way – time to warm up those vocal chords!

Are you looking forward to getting over here for some shows?
ANETTE OLZON (vocals): “I don’t get place expectation on any place in particular but I’m happy playing everywhere. If I’m frank, I don’t like London that much, I was there for my honeymoon and I don’t think it’s the perfect town for that! (laughs) But it will be great, we have three shows in London and we’ll have some guest musicians with us to liven those shows up too.”

Scandinavians are well known for their capacity for alcohol – can you compete with the guys in your band?
ANETTE: “I am a very responsible person, so I’ve only been very drunk once with them. I’m not made to drink alcohol, it always ends up with me throwing up and passing out for a day! We have a very, very hectic schedule, and there’s not time for rest so if I drink one night, my throat will be bad for three, so I kind of have to be sober, it’s the singer’s dilemma. (laughs) The guys are nice to be around when they’re drunk anyway. They don’t talk so much when they’re sober so in fact most of our communication is when they’re drunk. The only problem is that they don’t remember what they’ve said!” (laughs)

Do you ever get tempted to stage-dive?
ANETTE: “Yeah, I do! If we have a good show and I feel I can trust the people in there, at the end of the show I’ll jump down behind the barrier and take as many people’s hands as I can. But I think if I were to actually jump in there, I’d end up totally naked, because they really try to steal everything off me! (laughs) Every time, someone tries to get the rings off my fingers, my bracelets, anything. I’m pretty sure I’d end up completely stripped if I tried to actually go in there, and that’s not a good thing for anyone!” (laughs)

Have you ever tried to hit a note high enough to shatter a wine glass?
ANETTE: I don’t know about that, but when I was younger and we were recording a musical I was in, I had to be standing in a different room because I sang so fucking loud. I have a big scream, and I may not be able to shatter glasses with it but I could definitely make some people pretty miserable!” (laughs)

Who would win an arm wrestling contest between you and WT’s Sharon den Adel?
ANETTE: “When I started this band I exercised a lot and had pretty big biceps – but since then they have just disappeared! (laughs) I don’t know what shape she’s in, but I guess we’re kinda the same age – but I’m not competitive, so I’d let her win, she’s a marvelous person.”

What’s the most rock ‘n’ roll thing you’ve done recently?
ANETTE: “Getting up on stage and developing myself into being this rock bitch up there is probably the biggest thing. But I actually wanted to trash a TV in Greece, I was so angry – no band should play in Greece, we got so fucked over- and the guys were like, ‘Throw the TV in the pool, you’ve not done that before!’ But then I remembered I’m a civilized person and a mum, and I shouldn’t really do things like that.” (laughs)

So what would be your Night wish?
ANETTE: “To survive this tour!” (laughs)

Interview with Tarja 4

Source: Best Music . ro
(23 Iunie 2009)

Interviu Tarja Turunen

Tarja a concertat la Sala Palatului din Bucuresti in 22 iunie 2009. Ai aici poze de la concert. Inainte de spectacol, soprana a stat de vorba cu reporterul

In interviul acordat site-ului nostru, Tarja spune despre ea ca e o persoana teribil de melancolica, iar cantecele pe care le scrie sunt in mare parte triste.

E maritata cu un om de afaceri, dar artista nu si-ar caracteriza sotul ca fiind un business man feroce. Este mandra de ceea ce a realizat cu Nightwish (trupa din care a fost concediata acum cativa ani) si stie ca asa va ramane in istorie - ca vocea acelui grup nordic.

Noul sau disc apare anul viitor, dar acesta e doar rezumatul discutiei de opt miunute pe care-am avut-o cu Tarja - o persoana calda si placuta.

Vezi mai jos interviul video integral Tarja Turunen.

Tarja concert in Bucharest, Romania

Photo: Catalin Alexa,


Interview with Nightwish 109

Source: Bravewords
By: Victoria Maksimovich
Photo: Jana Blomqvist (1st)

Finnish symphonic power metal band NIGHTWISH continue their journey into a 'new era' with vocalist Annette Olzon as they endlessly support 2007's Dark Passion Play. The highlights of the tour were captured on the DVD Made In Hong Kong released in early spring. The charismatic Nightwish bass player Marco Hietala met in Helsinki to speak about the 'new era' Nightwish and his own musical career. The chat reads as follows. So how is your Dark Passion Play tour with Nightwish going?

Hietala: "Last tour has been quite rewarding, we had a new start, totally new singer with Nightwish. So, we were pretty confident about the album and the songs, but of course we had to find out if people would like this stuff, if they would come to the shows. And they did, which was really a relief and a nice thing. Of course, touring mainly is that you do the shows and you enjoy that basically every night. But also the timetable was a little more hectic and the touring was more extensive than what we've done before. In that way it was also pretty stressful and hard at time. Basically everybody should know what it is: we've been getting a lack of sleep, long travel hours, lots of time when you do nothing. And then all you waiting for is hour and a half, hour and 40 minutes for every evening to do the show and you basically try to reserve all your energy for that. You get a lot of time to get bored, a lot of time to think that you could be somewhere doing something else instead of just waiting and waiting and waiting and travelling and travelling and travelling. So that is the one side of the business that sucks." And actually you had to cancel some of the gigs. So were you a little happier because you could take a break during that tour?

Hietala: "No. It was in the USA that we had to cancel four shows, because Annette got sick and there was nothing much you could do. But then again I would have rather done the shows, because that's why we were there. And we basically had just five days off, not doing anything except for having too much to drink and got to meet some people and sign some autographs. Basically we end up saying we were sorry for the evening, but we would really like to do the shows." I have noticed that since Annette had come to the band, you started singing much more than you did before, or, at least, during the live shows it is quite obvious that you are much more involved into singing process.

Hietala: "Yeah, it was quite easy, because there were a lot of parts that I could do, so it was easy to integrate that stuff into a live set. We wanted in to be easier for Annette to come in. I don't know how things will work in future when she has some more albums behind her. When there is more material, the things might change into another direction as well." Comparing Tarja and Annette, what is the difference in feeling when you are on stage with either of them?

Hietala: "Well, with Tarja the thing was that she had the stage persona which required more distance. Annette is more of a walker, more down to earth. She goes around and talks to people and tries to get them going. So those are definite differences. And I don’t want to complain about either: Tarja did what was suitable for her, it fitted her style, it fitted her persona. Annette does what she knows how to do and what she is confident with. And for me those things work." There is a new era for Nightwish music, so are you comfortable with the changes musically as well?

Hietala: "Yeah, we rehearsed and wrote the new album already before we had a vocalist for the band. We were already pretty confident about a bunch of songs that we had at that time: 'Yeah, it’s gonna be a kicker of an album.' One thing was that we had to find the singer and of course it would have been quite easy to try out something quite similar to Tarja, because we tons of demo CDs from girls with opera voices. Some of them were pretty good, but we thought that it would be a bold and good move to go on with something totally different. We wanted to try it out and then we thought that Annette would probably be the best for that. And it seems so far this stuff has been working well." What is your favourite Nightwish song at the moment?

Hietala: "I think it is 'Poet And The Pendulum'. I like the challenge of this song: it has got all the atmosphere changes, all the moods, key changes, tempo changes, and then you still have to keep the whole massive piece together, to have a red line going through the song from the start to the finish. So it’s a challenging piece and I really like that. And then the other one of course, that has a special place in my heart, is The Islander. I wrote the music for the song, and then again it’s something totally different from the rest of the live set. You have quite little elements there, the main thing is the acoustic guitar and then the vocal line, and all the rest is basically just the background. You’ve got to create the tension and captivate people with the acoustic and with the vocal line. And those are the essentials that you’ve got to make it work." I have noticed that in general you are quite keen on participating in quite different kinds of projects: you have Nightwish, and you have NORTHERN KINGS and you have TAROT.

Hietala: "I think it's part of my lifestyle: it's the way I feed my head with everything and unload my stuff into different directions. With Nightwish I get a certain role and the music style has its own atmosphere, its own kind of world . And with Northern Kings the whole thing started like tongue-in-cheek kind of thing, it was nothing serious at first, but then we got the record company involved and they started selling the album. The first one sold gold, so it got serious in a business kind of way, even though it is not serious yet either in here. You take the old songs, put them down and take everything into pieces. Then you collect and put them back together in a totally different way." Like a puzzle.

Hietala: "Yeah, something like that, so that's the fun idea of that thing. I feel like home here, because the guys have been my friends for many years and we had fun doing the past stuff." So you weren’t looking for particular singers for Northern Kings?

Hietala: "Well the whole thing started when we were doing this Heavy Christmas and Erkka, the guitar player, was there and a few of the vocalists have been involved with the Christmas project. During that we were travelling from one place to another in the bus, having a few beers, and Erkka once said: ‘Hey it would be fun to do something like 80’s pop songs and put them into symphonic metal, guys singing it in El Divo style. So what do you say guys, if we try that, would you be interested?' Of course we thought it was a great idea. And that’s how it got started." How do you think, will it be a long-lasting project?

Hietala: "I don’t know. So far it has been fun and we really didn’t have that much chance to do it live, but it would be nice to have at least one tour."
Do you have enough time for your own band Tarot?

Hietala: "The guys would probably like me to play with them a little bit more, but everybody understands that I am basically the only one who is just doing music and is living off from it. So they would understand that my involvement with Nightwish is a pretty much lasting thing. And Nightwish guys, they’ve become really good friends of mine, so I don’t want to set priorities to either of the bands. I want to work with both of them and Nightwish is the one that really keeps me alive, keeps the food on the table and the roof over the heads of my kids. So I’ll definitely be doing that and I’ll definitely be doing this for as long as I got the time and the energy." On your Tarot site, you have stated that you have equal respect to all kinds of music. So can you state that you equally like for example Finnish rap, JLO, BRITNEY, etc.?

Hietala: "There have to be certain reservations there. For instance, with rap music, there are elements which get boring after a while: the social issues, the gangsta stuff and the black macho stuff. It is something that you really get fed up with after a while, but I really like the way those guys do the sound, the samples, and the atmosphere that you can create by getting these pieces together and putting them together. That’s pretty ambitious stuff at times and that is something that I like. There are things to learn from that over-produced mainstream stuff like Britney Spears: what kind of a recipe there is, how the song is done, what kind of things you put in the layers, what is there at the bottom, what kind of vocal harmonies there are up and stuff like that. It can give you ideas how to do certain things yourself. So I have a kind of respect for all the stuff that I hear. Because I basically end up soaking up and I am like a sponge about things that I hear, I soak them all up. And then I throw the crap and end up using the rest of it in some way. I get the ideas, then I twist them around and put them into something else. Hopefully nobody will be able to recognize them, but if you twist them much enough – nobody would." So all new recipes – they are well-forgotten old ones, aren’t they?

Hietala: "Yeah, but like I said, I like challenges, so no obvious recipes are interesting for me. I like to add pepper to ice-cream." You also were studying to be a sound-engineer, so did you ever take that function during the studio recordings with Nightwish or with Tarot?

Hietala: "Yeah, because I know everything about that stuff, of course I end up having a lot of suggestions, even if someone else is recording or producing. If it is my bass or vocals, I end up having ideas and suggestions how I want things to be done. And usually that’s a good thing, because I do know quite well which kind of things work for me in playing or singing, and what kind of harmonies I like to do. For instance, the last two Tarot albums are pretty much really self-produced. And I have been hired to produce the vocals for the three last AMORPHIS albums." You were having classical vocal lessons; did this kind of education help you a lot? We all know that singing in a metal band sometimes you have to re-learn what you learned during the classical vocal lessons?

Hietala: "Yeah, that’s the thing. I took some of the stuff that they have taught me, for instance, some breathing techniques, some basic relaxation, and how to recognize the way your body works with your voice. But I concentrated on the looseness. And then I concentrated on using the voice the way it just comes out and forgetting about whatever they’ve tried to teach me. I didn’t get really good grades from those lessons, which probably explains why I never got to study further, but then again I haven’t really needed to study further, because it is pretty obvious that at least I am doing ok." Do you feel yourself more like a singing bass player or a singer with a bass guitar?

Hietala: "I think I am a singer and I am a bass player both. And it depends on the song, how much involvement I put to one side or the other. Also it probably depends on the band as well. With Tarot, for instance, I have to be a lot more at the front , so the responsibility vocal-wise is greater than what it is in Nightwish. There I get more time to just step back and play the bass. Well yeah I get more responsible vocal-wise in Tarot and that is something which is one of the heaviest duties in a heavy metal band – to be a vocalist. A lot of people get really stressed out from that. I used to do that myself, but these days I just don’t give a fuck, I mean after all it is my stage, my song." You like participating in different musical projects and you have been doing a lot of musical technical stuff, but if you had a chance to be a judge in such show as Finnish ‘Idols’ would you go for that?

Hietala: "I don’t know. I find this thing to be dishonest to my like. If you think about the money that the TV companies get from the advertisers for buying the advertising time at those prime hours when the programs come out – they get a hell lot of money. Plus the percentage from the phone companies that they get from the people who call to vote or send sms to vote. And the people who own the concept and the formula of the program, they get tons of money, because everywhere in the world they’ve got ‘Idols’. So what if they really added up the competition, so that these people are actually competing there, who get the most of the votes will get a percentage points for the sms and the phone calls, that would be fair. But these people there, they are young, they are ignorant about most of the shitty things that this business has and they are happy to get their faces shown on the TV, to get a chance to be a part of the machine or to get a chance to get a record deal, get out there so that people would know them. Of course they are happy, I wanted the same thing myself when I was 17. But I think the whole thing is just so fucking unfair. Those people who are competing there, they’re the best, so they should get a percentage out of the whole fucking part of money that is going somewhere. No, I don’t think I would go, because I think it’s goddamn unfair."

Interview with Nightwish 108










Marco, Jukka, Tarja

Okänt, ?




Intervista a EUTK in occasione dell'uscita di End of innocence


Appena un anno fa circolavano molte brutte voci sul futuro dei Nightwish. Tarja, la bella cantante, aveva deciso di concentrarsi maggiormente sui propri studi in Germania ed è per questo che il resto della band aveva deciso di prendersi una pausa. Anche se nessuno del gruppo lo ha mai detto in maniera chiara, questa sarebbe stata la fine dei Nightwish. Tuttavia i media avevano già decretato la loro carriera come terminata. Invece durante questa estate i Nightwish hanno fatto intuire che ben poco sarebbe cambiato ed a dimostrarlo c'erano i quasi 25 concerti che li hanno visti protagonisti sui palchi di mezza Europa. A coronare il tutto, l'uscita del loro secondo DVD intitolato "End of Innocence", già uscito in Finlandia, che non è un live DVD come "From Wishes to Eternity". Le registrazioni per il prossimo nuovo cd cominceranno la prossima settimana e prima che il gruppo si rinchiuda per settimane, nelle vesti della bella e brava Melanie Haack ha contattato Jukka (drums), Marco (bass & vocals) e Tarja che ci raccontano della pausa, del DVD e del nuovo album.

Da giugno avete ripreso a suonare dal vivo. Sono stata un po' sorpresa di fronte a questa vostra decisione in quanto ritenevo che la pausa sarebbe stata ben più lunga. Sapevate fin dal principio che sareste tornati così presto?

Marco: In effetti la pausa doveva essere maggiore ma la situazione ci è un po' sfuggita di mano. In origine dovevamo suonare solamente un paio di volte durante l'estate, giusto qualche festival qua e là.
Jukka: E man mano sono divenuti sempre di più, se non sbaglio siamo arrivati a 22 concerti.
Marco: E' stato un errore.
Jukka: Un bell'errore però, dai.
Tarja: E' divertente pensare a questa pausa "ufficiale" di un anno perché in realtà non c'è stata alcuna interruzione dell'attività dei Nightwish. Quando decisi di tornare in Finlandia al termine dei miei studi in Germania, la nostra agenzia di concerti cominciò a prenderci impegni in maniera consistente e così fin dall'inizio dell'anno sapevamo che l'estate sarebbe stata piena di impegni per noi. E' stato un grande divertimento ed una gioia suonare in così tanti posti sparsi nel mondo e vedere così tanti fans ai nostri live shows; a volte qualcuno di noi ha bisogno di un po' di tempo per stare solo, lontano dagli altri, ma evidentemente questo tempo di pausa è stato sufficientemente lungo per ricaricare le pile e adesso tutto sembra essere tornato alla normalità.

Parliamo del DVD "End of Innocence" che include un documentario sulla band. Di cosa parla?

Tarja: Dopo tre enormi tours in tutto il mondo, abbiamo raccolto una incredibile mole di ottimo materiale, sia mentre suoniamo sul palco, sia mentre siamo in giro, nei camerini o da qualsiasi altra parte, e data l'abbondanza di materiale abbiamo deciso di pubblicare un secondo DVD, ovviamente con contenuti speciali ed interessanti. Questo è culminato in una bella intervista di Mape Olilla, un famoso giornalista musicale finlandese, a Tuomas che si è svolta in un cottage estivo in Finlandia, con tutta la crew della band. Il risultato sono i 204 minuti di "End of Innocence" (3 ore e 20 di intervista? Madonna che palle!!! ndGraz) che racconta tutta la storia dei Nightwish, dai tempi del debutto fino ad oggi. E' divertente, sorprendente, in alcune parti anche shockante ma è tutta la verità riguardo al gruppo, di tutto il tempo che abbiamo passato insieme per i Nightwish.
Marco: Da quello che ho potuto vedere, il DVD è una sorta di tragedia con molte parti da commedia.

Ho saputo che possiamo vedere qualcosa del primo concerto in assoluto dei Nightwish...

Marco: Sì è così, c'è un pezzo del nostro primo show che avvenne a Kitee nel 1997.

Ricordate le sensazioni provate prima di salire sul palco per la prima volta?

Jukka: Decisamente. Ero terrorizzato. Sicuramente sarebbe potuto andare meglio ma a vedere come sono andate poi le cose, possiamo riderci sopra...
Tarja: Ricordo che ero molto spaventata così come tutti gli altri membri. Alla fine ero divertita ma la tensione si tagliava con il coltello e non avevo idea di come il pubblico ci avrebbe accolto, capisci, non avevo mai immaginato di poter cantare in un gruppo metal e tutta la situazione mi sembrava assurda! Avevo comprato i miei primi pantaloni di pelle con mia madre per la prima volta solo un paio di giorni prima!

Guardando il DVD, si puo' capire come attraversi tutta la vostra vita con i Nightwish, attraverso emozioni e sentimenti di divertimento, cose dimenticate, momenti tristi. Cosa provate voi mentre li rivivete tramite il televisore?

Tarja: Hai ragione, è molto emozionante rivedersi in quelle scene. Vedere tutti i momenti tristi e ridere sulle cose divertenti che ci sono capitate. In fondo non sono passati molti anni, tutto è accaduto in maniera piuttosto rapida e convulsa e solo adesso mi rendo conto quanto sia stato duro affrontare tutto questo in così poco tempo ma l'importante è che ce l'abbiamo fatta e che siamo ancora qui.
Jukka: La cosa più divertente è rivivere tutte le cose che mi ero dimenticato.e sono tante. E' come viverle nuovamente per la prima volta, molti episodi li avevo proprio rimossi dalla mia mente, visitare posti in cui non ricordavo di avere mai messo piede.
Marco: E' stata sicuramente una bella esperienza quella di questo documentario, il tutto adesso mi sembra più chiaro e più reale. Adesso veramente mi sento parte di una vera storia.

Vi siete quindi rivisti, rivisitando la vostra vita: rifareste tutto daccapo, seguendo le stesse scelte e prendendo le medesime decisioni?

Tarja: Come ti ho detto prima, non è stato facile affrontare tutto nel modo migliore ma oggi posso dire che i Nightwish non sarebbero stati gli stessi se le cose non fossero andate come sono andate in passate, se non avessimo fatto le stesse scelte, giuste o sbagliate che siano state. Personalmente, non cambierei assolutamente nulla di ciò che ho fatto in questi anni. L'unico rammarico è quello di non aver goduto a dovere i bei momenti passati in questo lungo viaggio. Avrei dovuto farlo.

Chi ha deciso i contenuti del DVD, la struttura e tutto il resto?

Tarja: L'idea è venuta fuori da questa intervista fatta al cottage d'estate. Ovviamente, la storia è tutta nelle mani di Tuomas. Ha deciso lui come tagliare il materiale, come ricostruire il tutto; abbiamo visionato le scene milioni di volte, per scegliere bene cosa doveva essere tagliato via e cose includere assolutamente. Non è stato facile, considera che avevamo riprese per oltre 50 ore!
Marco: Veramente, avevamo tonnellate di materiale, non sapevamo più dove girarci!
Come seconda parte abbiamo del materiale dal vivo tratto dal Summer Breeze Festival 2002 e dalla festa del 4 luglio in Norvegia.
Marco: Esatto. Il concerto in Norvegia si è svolto in un club.
Jukka: E' solo del materiale extra. Non è registrato e girato in maniera professionale. E' stato messo solo per avere del materiale dal vivo.
Marco: In effetti il sound è stato lasciato così come è stato preso, direttamente dal mixer, ma non è un risultato professionale senza dubbio.

Tarja, sei finalmente tornata in Finlandia. Hai così completato gli studi? Cosa farai adesso che hai terminato la scuola?

Tarja: Sono tornata a casa poiché non mi sono trovata molto bene in Germania ed inoltre avendo terminato gli studi non avevo più nulla da fare là. Adesso sto ancora andando a scuola, prendendo alcune lezioni private di canto per un paio di settimane, e ripetendo il tutto ogni tot per non perdere l'allenamento, in vista dell'esame finale conclusivo che speriamo di passare presto per poter così conseguire l'agognato diploma di cantante!

Passiamo quindi al vostro prossimo album; sicuramente il fatto che adesso Tarja possa partecipare alle registrazioni vi agevola no?

Tarja: No, onestamente non c'è tutta quella differenza perché il modo che abbiamo sempre avuto di lavorare non è affatto cambiato. Tutti noi abitiamo a moltissimi km di distanza l'uno dall'altro, perciò la distanza è sì diminuita un po' ma di certo non abolita. Considera che le registrazioni cominceranno a Novembre ma io entrerò in studio solamente a Febbraio (azz.i soldi non mancano eh? NdGraz) perciò come vedi non è cambiato proprio niente.

C'è qualcosa che volete drasticamente cambiare da "Century Child"?

Jukka: No, non credo proprio.o perlomeno, intendo che non ci stiamo pensando, se ci saranno dei cambiamenti saranno spontanei e non certo premeditati. Noi pensiamo solo a fare musica, aspettiamo che Tuomas componga il tutto, poi ci mettiamo del nostro e vediamo cosa accade. Il processo compositivo per noi non è mai cambiato e non cambierà adesso. Tuomas compone i brani e noi li arrangiamo insieme in studio.
Marco: Da quanto dice Tuomas, il prossimo album sarà piuttosto pesante, molto di più rispetto al suo predecessore.
Tarja: Onestamente penso che sarà piuttosto simile a "Century Child", certamente con qualche nuovo elemento in più.

Durante la sosta alcuni di voi sono apparsi in altri gruppi...adesso che i Nightwish sono di nuovo attivi, potrebbe capitare di vedere qualcuno di voi militare contemporaneamente in due bands? Pensate sia una cosa affrontabile dato che i Nightwish sono ormai una grande formazione?

Jukka: Beh, sono entrato in un'altra formazione solo perché è piuttosto piccola e gli impegni sono relativi, è ovvio che la prorità è sempre quella. Inoltre abbiamo la stessa etichetta, la stessa agenzia, lo stesso manager, insomma non devo certo preoccuparmi che le cose si possano scontrare, lo ritengo impossibile.
Marco: Per quanto mi riguarda, posso dirti le stesse cose di Jukka. Stessa etichetta, stesso manager, ogni aspetto è ponderato ed organizzato anche se è ovvio che i Nightwish hanno la precedenza.

Siete stati in SudAmerica, quali sono le differenze maggiori rispetto all'Europa?

Jukka: Praticamente è il paradiso delle metal bands laggiù. Hanno un'attitudine pazzesca, sono completamente folli ed estasiati quando un gruppo suona dal vivo, sono caldi ed incredibilmente entusiasti. E' molto diverso da qui, decisamente.
Marco: Gli Europei sono decisamente più freddi e distaccati. Qui si punta più ad ascoltare il concerto, ma la gente impazzisce anche qui, è solo una questione di diversi tipi di carattere.

Qualche progetto in cantiere al di fuori della musica?

Marco: Rilassarsi sul balcone di fronte alla costa...
Jukka: Se si hanno le energie perché non suonare dal vivo fino a che non si diventa più vecchi? Sarebbe bello. Non devi pensare a questo come un lavoro perché alla fine ti stancheresti, invece è una cosa che tutti noi amiamo.

Andrete in tout con i For my Pain, Sethian and Tarot, cosa ne pensate?

Jukka e Marco: Non so se ce la faremo, sarà durissima. Dovremo bere in maniera pazzesca...

Interview with Nightwish 107














Nej. (En italiensk översättning av en engelsk översättning av finsk intervju)


Till italienska: "Valentina", till engelska: "Marina"

Intervista a Tarja in occasione dell'uscita di Once

(Traduzione by Valentina)

Questa intervista è stata tradotta dalla trascrizione di un'intervista trasmessa via Streaming dal sito finlandese, pubblicata sul forum di da Marina.

Sei stata lontana dalla Finlandia per tanto tempo e hai anche iniziato a insegnare canto.

Anche quello! Ho anche fatto un po' di concerti di musica classica, ho fatto un po' di promozione e adesso sono tornata in Finlandia per qualche giorno.

Per fare altre interviste.

Sì e anche per provare con la band

Quindi non ti sei annoiata

No davvero! Ho giusto fatto in tempo a lavare le mie cose a casa e ora sono di nuovo in giro.

Come sono stati i concerti di musica classica e l'insegnamento? Le tue allieve hanno imparato qualcosa?

Il corso intensivo che ho tenuto a Buenos Aires è stato estremamente interessante! Avevo 13 allieve, alcune addirittura più anziane di me e altre più giovani. alcune principianti e altre un po' più esperte..

C'è qualche talento tra di loro?

Sì per la maggior parte. Sono delle giovani davvero brave.

Parliamo un po' dei Nightwish. Nemo ha avuto abbastanza successo tra il pubblico e vende molto. Come ti senti riguardo a questo?

Un po' sorpresa.. Non dovrei?
Va tutto bene, molto bene. Certo tutto questo mi crea ulteriori pressioni ora che uscirà l'album.bisogna vedere come lo prenderà la gente.

E' un po' diverso

Sì c'è molto più materiale delle poche canzoni del singolo. Ma ci sono Paesi come la Norvegia e la Svezia dove siamo conosciuti solo da due anni e il singolo è al top delle classifiche e questo è meraviglioso!

Cosa ne pensi del video?


L'ho visto per la prima volta qualche settimana fa.

Cioè quando è uscito.

Sì qualche settimana fa. Il tempo passa così in fretta adesso! Il tutto un po' mi confonde. Appena l'ho visto mi sono detta: wow! ma cos'è? E ho dovuto riguardarlo subito e mi è apparso più chiaro. Non è il tipo di video che ti guardi una volta sola. Ti lascia un senso di freddo anche perché è così oscuro

Probabilmente a Tuomas piace molto

Beh sì! E' un gran video, meraviglioso.. e anche la produzione è molto ben fatta

Ok. Once uscirà all'inizio di giugno. Com'è stato realizzare questo album dal tuo punto di vista?

Per me è stato davvero molto semplice. Una bella sessione, senza problemi e per la prima volta mi sono sentita veramente bene come cantante dei Nightwish. Ho fatto un passo in avanti nello sviluppare la mia tecnica vocale e la mia musicalità. I due anni in Germania sono stati davvero positivi per la mia carriera di cantante. Senza di questi probabilmente non saprei proprio come cantare oggi nei Nightwish. Mi hanno aiutata molto e ora questo nuovo album è davvero grande.. Mi piace anche sentirlo!

Il primo album che ti piace ascoltare?!!?

Sì.. nel senso che non mi sento a disagio perchè la mia voce non mi suona bene, come nei precedenti album. Prima non trovavo il modo migliore per usare la mia voce.

Che per la gente comune significa che canti anche in un modo un po' più normale, più pop.

E non è stato facile. Avevo già provato su Century Child ma non avevo ottenuto i risultati sperati. Davvero non mi piace molto ciò che ho fatto su quell'album. Cantare così non sempre suona bene. Ma questa volta è stato in un certo senso più facile, come se la voce già venisse fuori nel modo in cui io volevo. E' molto strano anche perché ogni volta imparo qualcosa di nuovo. Ed è davvero bello andare avanti in questo modo.

Tra poco inizierete anche i concerti. Avete già avuto tempo di provare?

Ora sto andando a Kitee e avremo tempo di provare per una settimana. I ragazzi sono già lì da un po' e io come sempre arrivo un po' più tardi.

Ma tu vai lì e canti, mentre i ragazzi devono provare a suonare insieme.

Beh ma questa volta per me sarà difficile ricordarmi tutte le canzoni che riproporremo dall'inizio della carriera dei Nightwish, parlo di cose di 5 o 6 anni fa.

Quindi riproporrete anche dei vecchi pezzi.


Che non sentiamo da tanto tempo..

Sì. Quelle canzoni delle quali ormai non ricordo il testo e anche le sensazioni . lo stile con cui canto adesso è completamente diverso. Sono un po' nervosa infatti riguardo al fatto di andare a Kitee e cantare con loro, ma so che hanno fatto davvero un buon lavoro. Ora come ora vogliamo solo cominciare il tour perché siamo stati in studio davvero per troppo tempo.

Il fatto che inizierete il tour a Kitee ti rende più nervosa?

Quel giorno (anzi, tutto il week end) sarà probabilmente una "catastrofe" per la città di Kitee.Noi faremo uno spettacolo e vogliamo farlo davvero perfetto. Di certo durante il primo show accade sempre qualcosa di speciale.

Parliamo ancora un po' dei concerti. Da quello che ho capito farete una cosa come 170 date. Come ci si sente?

Sono scioccata!

Ewo me l'ha detto. non so se è la verità.-

Probabilmente è vero. E' una lista abbastanza lunga. Non so se ce la farò fisicamente... Il mio dottore mi ha detto direttamente: "non ce la farai, in queste condizioni non puoi farcela". Perciò devo prima di tutto rimettermi in forma prima del lungo tour dell'autunno.
Abbiamo un po' di vacanze e durante l'estate di solito suoniamo nei week end e durante la settimana ci ricarichiamo. Ma quest'autunno sarà veramente pesante e questo un po' mi spaventa. Ma probabilmente quando arriveremo all'autunno sarò già in forma!

Interview with Nightwish 106









Michele Dicuonzo







Intervista a Tuomas

La scena hard & heavy finlandese sta facendo autentici passi da gigante negli ultimi tempi: si puo' affermare con cognizione di causa che quella finnica sia una delle 'scene' più eccitanti e creative in circolazione. Non si può non prendere atto del fatto che, nel frattempo, Albione sonnecchia, la Norvegia segna il passo e la Germania è inesorabilmente stretta nel binomio gothic/power. Via libera dunque per Nightwish, Amorphis, Children of Bodom e compagnia, ensemble davvero in grado di dare linfa nuova al panorama heavy continentale. I Nightwish rappresentano peraltro un fenomeno a parte con il loro power progressivo che, pur addizionato di un vocalismo operistico, non lesina affatto in termini di impatto, freschezza e spessore emotivo. Nostro interlocutore per questa intervista, il tastierista Tuomas si conferma personaggio disponibile e pacato, pronto a rispondere senza tanti giri di parole ai numerosi questiti che avevamo preparato per lui.

Facciamo un passo indietro: puoi raccontarci la storia dei Nightwish dagli esordi sino alla vostra consacrazione?

I Nightwish si sono formati nell'inverno del 1996. All'epoca suonavo sia per i Nattvindens Gråt che per Darkwoods My Betrothed, ma sentivo che tutto questo non era abbastanza per me. Desideravo creare qualcosa di mio, qualcosa di diverso e forse lontano dal metal. Fu così che diedi vita ad un ensemble completamente acustico denominandolo appunto Nightwish. Chiesi pertanto al mio compagno di scuola Emppu di suonare la chitarra acustica per la band, e a Tarja di occuparsi dei vocal. Abbiamo cominciato a comporre tre brani nel Dicembre 1996, ed é così che è partita l'avventura dei Nightwish. Sai, al principio non intendevamo diventare una metal band, ma all'epoca dell'incisione del nostro secondo demo, quando Jukka si è unito a noi, abbiamo pensato bene di sperimentare l'effetto finale del nostro sound con l'inclusione della batteria nonché di un certo 'flavour' metallico. E' stato allora che abbiamo registrato il demo 'Angels Fall First', proprio quello che poi é diventato il nostro album d'esordio! In seguito, Sami ha fatto il suo ingresso nella band, esattamente prima di entrare in studio per le session di registrazione di "Oceanborn". Il disco come sai è stato pubblicato al principio solo qui da noi in Finlandia, ma a partire da quel momento siamo stati impegnati in una serie di tour intensivi atti a coprire tutta l'Europa.

C'è per caso un concept che si cela dietro il vostro fascinoso monicker, 'Nightwish' per l'appunto?

Beh, ad essere sincero non c'è nessun concetto preciso dietro il nome della band. Addirittura non ricordo neppure da dove ho preso ispirazione per quest'ultimo.. Diciamo semplicemente che suona bene, e poi calza alla perfezione alla nostra immagine: probabilmente questo è stato il motivo principale che ci ha spinto ad adottarlo.

Come hai avuto modo di sottolineare in precedenza, prima di dar vita ai Nightwish sei stato coinvolto in altre due band, Nattvindens Gråt e Darkwoods My Betrothed: ne fai ancora parte e, se sì, quali sono i vostri progetti futuri?

Il discorso Nattvindens Gråt è morto e sepolto. Per quanto attiene ai Darkwoods My Betrothed invece, l'attività prosegue, ed in maniera proficua. Sono sempre un membro dei DMB, ma collaboro solo come turnista. Abbiamo pubblicato il nostro terzo full-lenght e proseguiremo ad incidere dischi. Anche i DMB, alla pari dei Nightwish, incidono per l'etichetta finlandese Spinefarm.

Cosa ti ispira all'atto di comporre un brano dei Nightwish?

Il regno del fantasy e l'immaginazione sono sempre state le fonti di ispirazione primarie per i Nightwish. Sai, per me è difficile dire da dove effettivamente provengono queste nostre canzoni. Dal punto di vista dei testi non sono uso servirmi di allegorie: i nostri brani tendono ad affrescare scenari, a creare visioni ed a raccontare storie.

Ci sono alcuni termini, come 'verginità' ad esempio, che ricorrono spesso nei tuoi testi: qual'è la tua idea di purezza? Riesci ancora a percepirla in ciò che ci circonda?

Il ricorrere del termine da te citato non è intenzionale.. In ogni caso, sia l'innocenza che la purezza sono valori importantissimi che purtroppo sono divenuti rari al mondo d'oggi. Neanch'io sono puro. La purezza, la verginità, quando tali, sono sempre visioni d'incomparabile bellezza.

Quanto sono importanti le lyric in un album dei Nightwish?

Sono basilari. Per me personalmente, i testi sono più importanti persino della stessa musica. Si tratta di scritti e visioni molto intime, si potrebbe dire che creo i testi soprattutto per me stesso. Ma, in un secondo momento, è bellissimo venire a sapere che sono piaciuti alla gente, e che, soprattutto, chi è all'ascolto ha provato le stesse emozioni che ho provato io nello scriverli. Non c'è cosa più bella di ascoltare i ragazzi che cantano le nostre canzoni mentre noi suoniamo dal vivo!

C'è qualche testo oppure film che ti ispira all'atto del songwriting?

Adoro le colonne sonore, e pertanto, sì, i film mi ispirano moltissimo. Musicalmente, tra i miei compositori preferiti citerei Vangelis, Kitaro, Hans Zimmer e James Horner. Non mi viene in mente alcun titolo preciso, ma adoro i film e la letteratura storica oppure il genere fantasy.

Cosa volete offrire a chi vi ascolta?

Spero di non suonare troppo egoista, ma fond amentalmente scrivo musica per me stesso. Non compongo mai in termini di 'dare qualcosa a qualcuno', oppure semplicemente immaginando le reazioni che potrebbe avere le gente ascoltando la nostra musica: preferisco che i ragazzi entrino nel nostro mondo in tutta libertà, come meglio gli aggrada.

La scena metal finlandese sta facendo progressi davvero notevolissimi: Nightwish, certo, ma anche Children of Bodom, Amorphis, Sentenced.. Tu come vedi la cosa?

Concordo in pieno: oramai la scena finladese è pari ai massimi livelli! Oltre ai nomi da te menzionati, ci tengo a ricordare altre ottime band come Kyyria, HIM, Embraze e Decoryah!

Raccontaci della tua vita in Finlandia, e dei vostri tipici, bellissimi scenari naturali..

Penso che la Finlandia sia un buon luogo per vivere. Certo, abbiamo il nostro debito nazionale da rimettere in sesto, ed ora c'è anche lo spettro della disoccupazione, ma vale ancora la pena di metter radici dalle nostre parti. Sai, io ho sempre vissuto in mezzo alla natura, ed il nostro ambiente puro ed incantevole mi ha sicuramente ispirato all'atto del comporre per i Nightwish.

Molti hanno descritto il vostro popolo come un particolare mix tra follia e romanticismo: girami la tua opinione al riguardo..

(Ride) Oh, credo che abbiano colto davvero nel segno! Effettivamente c'è un lato 'soft' in ognuno di noi, che si rispecchia nell'amore per la natura e nel nostro romanticismo. Ma è altresì vero che noi finnici siamo capaci di fare qualunque tipo di follia, anche la più stupida! La prima cosa che mi viene in mente è la nostra abitudine a bere smodatamente alcoolici: quando un finlandese beve, beh, prosegue finchè non va completamente fuori di testa. E dopo, incomincia il divertimento...

Conosci per caso la scena metal italiana? Cosa ne pensi di band come Rhapsody, Labyrinth, ecc.?

Ad essere sincero quelle che tu hai citato sono le uniche band italiane che conosco.. Non so tantissimo dei Labyrinth, ma sono un grandissimo fan dei Rhapsody: Staropoli è davvero un autentico mago delle tastiere!

A tuo parere, che importanza possono rivestire oggigiorno le tradizioni ed i miti?

Sono importanti e dovrebbero sempre esserlo. Il fatto di relazionarci alle antiche leggende ed al mondo mitico ci dona saggezza e dà lustro alla nostra cultura: l'uomo non dovrebbe mai dimenticare il suo passato e soprattutto quello che è veramente. E tutto questo ha la sua sicura valenza anche nel contesto del prossimo millennio a venire.

Per quale motivo hai deciso di dar vita ad una band metal? Cosa rappresenta il rock duro per te?

La musica è la mia vita, e l'esperienza mi ha insegnato che il metal è il genere musicale che meglio riesce ad esprimere i miei sentimenti: é lo stile che sento più vicino alla mia personalità e con il quale riesco a relazionarmi con più soddisfazione.

C'è qualche stile musicale che vorresti suonare e che non puoi tirar fuori con i Nightwish?

Guarda, la cosa che amo di più dei Nightwish è il fatto che posso suonare davvero di tutto, e che comunque questo tende poi a risultare sempre.. Nightwish! Beh, magari non in tutte le occasioni, ma questa è la sensazione primaria che provo..

Hai mai pensato di scrivere una colonna sonora?

Oh, lo penso spessissimo! Effettivamente sta cominciando a diventare un'autentica ossessione per me, e dunque credo proprio che varrà la pena di lavorarci su con la band in futuro.

Che importanza riveste il background classico nei Nightwish?

A dir la verità non è così decisivo. Quella che è più coinvolta in quell'ambito è senza alcun dubbio Tarja, che sta praticando gli studi classici nel canto. Il suo stile operistico addiziona la nostra musica del 'tocco' classico che noi desideravamo. Senza esagerare, ovviamente, perché non sarebbe nei nostri intendimenti. Diciamo che la musica classica ci influenza meno rispetto a quanto può influenzare i Rhapsody o Yngwie Malmsteen.

Raccontaci di più sulla deliziosa Tarja: come mai ha deciso di cantare in una metal band, e come è solita rapportarsi a questo mondo, presumo inusuale per lei?

Tarja si è unita a noi perché desiderava provare a fare qualcosa di diverso rispetto a quanto aveva fatto nel passato (pop, soul, musica spirituale). Un giorno diventerà una cantante d'opera, ma per il momento sta ancora studiando all'Accademia di canto classico di Sibelius, che qui in Finlandia rappresenta un po' il vostro Conservatorio. Dovrebbe specializzarsi nell'Opera a partire dall'inizio del prossimo semestre. E' una ragazza molto professionale, almeno per quanto attiene la sua attività come cantante. Sai, prima di ogni concerto è solita 'riscaldare' la sua voce per oltre due ore. E' sempre divertente per noi ascoltarla mentre si cimenta nei suoi 'lalalalaaaa' nella stanza dell'hotel! E lo stesso accade quando ci rechiamo in studio di registrazione!

Quanto è importante per voi il successo commerciale?

Beh, agli esordi ci importava relativamente, ma da quando abbiamo cominciato ad assaporare il successo ci siamo resi conto di quanto importante sia una promozione ed una gestione del marketing decente. E, per essere onesto, siamo affascinati dal successo che abbiamo raggiunto sino ad oggi e speriamo di continuare cosi.. Comunque, non preoccuparti, la nostra musica rimarrà sempre pura ed onesta.

Dobbiamo attenderci qualche cambiamento in futuro, una nuova direzione nel sound dei Nightwish?

Il nostro processo di songwriting non è mai stabilito a priori, tutto tende a svilupparsi naturalmente. Abbiamo appena cominciato a scrivere nuovi brani, e vedremo cosa verrà fuori questa volta. Credo che tutte la band abbiano il diritto di sviluppare la loro musica nella direzione che gli sembra più consona, fermo restando che deve essere un'esigenza sentita in maniera onesta. Un po' come quello che stanno facendo i The Gathering, i Metallica, oppure i Paradise Lost..

Qual'è la cosa più significativa che vorresti riuscire a realizzare con la tua band?

Vorrei riuscire a comporre una sorta di colonna sonora per i Nightwish, suonandola con un grande coro ed una vera orchestra, in un imponente teatro. Sempre in un'ottica metal, ovviamente!

Hai qualche altro interesse a parte la musica, qualche altra grande passione?

Sì, sono interessato alla natura ed alla biologia. Spero in futuro di avere l'opportunità di poter studiare Biologia o Scienze Ambientali.

Vorrei conoscere la tua opinione su quanto hanno fatto e stanno facendo due band che mi piace accomunare alla vostra: The Gathering e The Third and The Mortal..

The Gathering mi piacciono, "Mandylion" e "NightTime Birds" in particolare, sebbene non sia un fan sfegatato della band olandese. Per quanto attiene ai Third and The Mortal, beh, credo che sia una grandissima band!! "Tears laid in Earth" è uno dei dischi più belli che ho mai avuto occasione di ascoltare, e, ti dirò, loro hanno avuto un tale impatto su di me, da spingermi a formare i Nightwish!

Che tipo di musica sei solito ascoltare a casa quando hai semplicemente voglia di rilassarti?

Colonne sonore, oppure metal 'atmosferico'.. Ma anche Vangelis, Enigma, Era, Tiamat..

Cosa significa la notte per te?

Ispirazione e bellezza. Ma anche il sonno.. I sogni.

Cosa pensi dell'Italia e degli italiani in generale?

A parte quello cinese, voi avete il miglior cibo del mondo! E poi, voi italiani.. Sempre con tanta voglia di discutere: avete un approccio così entusiasta alla vita, siete calorosi e molto educati.. E poi, Venezia: è uno dei posti dove vorrei vivere!

Interview with Nightwish 105















Tuomas parla dello split con Tarja

Tratta da

Il 21 Ottobre 2005 i Nightwish hanno concluso il loro tour dopo un anno e mezzo all'Hartwall Areena di Helsinki: si è trattato, probabilmente, del più grande concerto nella storia della band. L'evento è stato ripreso dalle telecamere per il DVD End Of An Era ("La fine di un'era") ed esattamente quello che è successo, perché, dopo il concerto, una lettera della band a Turunen ha annunciato che i Nightwish si erano separati dalla loro cantante.
Questa frase riassume in definitiva la notizia, che, il giorno successivo ha causato parecchia confusione. Per qualche tempo la homepage della band è rimasta disponibile solo in versione ridotta perché troppe persone volevano accedere al sito.

Sui forum delle riviste e di diversi altri gruppi ci sono state discussioni relative alla notizia della lettera aperta che i musicisti avevano consegnato a Tarja (e reso pubblica in seguito). Anche i giornali Finlandesi e le agenzie di stampa hanno pubblicato comunicati in merito.

Oltretutto non c'è tempo di rilassarsi per il mastermind dei Nightwish Tuomas Holopainen. Passa la maggior parte del tempo al telefono a rispondere alle interviste. Un Tuomas molto trasparente e emozionato permette a Orkus di intuire il background di questa separazione e di comprendere meglio i suoi sentimenti.

Come stai? Hai avuto il tempo di rimetterti un po' in sesto?
E' tutto molto stressante. Sapevo che sarebbe andata così e perciò sono arrivato un po' preparato. Al momento tutto è davvero confuso per me. Aspetto che arrivi il giorno in cui tutto si sarà calmato e non vedo l'ora che arrivi il giorno in cui non dovrò più parlare di questo. Ma penso che mi perseguiterà per mesi.

Nella tua lettera scrivi: "E' tempo di decidere se la storia dei Nightwish finirà qui o se continuerà per un periodo di tempo indeterminato" Quanto è stato difficile prendere questa decisione?
E' stata la cosa più difficile che abbia dovuto fare. I Nightwish non sono solo una band ma sono più come una grande famiglia che suona assieme e che ha un proprio modo di vivere la propria vita e i propri sentimenti. Voglio che tutti nella band la pensino in questo modo. Ci deve essere una connessione mentale nella musica, nell'amicizia, nei viaggi in comune, in modo da divertirsi tutti insieme.
L'atteggiamento di Tarja e i suoi valori sono diventati sempre più diversi dai nostri. Durante l'ultimo periodo si è completamente tagliata fuori dal gruppo. Penso che ci sia una frase in particolare che lo rende chiaro: "Non ho bisogno più di questo gruppo per la mia carriera". Questa dichiarazione è stata davvero crudele nei miei confronti. Non potevo andare avanti così...

Alla fine è stata una serie di cose che ti ha portato a questa decisione oppure è successo qualcosa di particolare?
E' stata una somma di diversi fattori: Il modo di vedere la band di Tarja, le sue motivazioni, i suoi valori, il fatto che il prossimo album era pianificato per essere definitivamente il suo ultimo album e che lei non voleva più venire in tour con noi, neanche dopo il prossimo disco. Perché dovremmo stare attaccati a una persona che la pensa così?

Ti senti sollevato ora che hai preso questa decisione e l'hai portata avanti o ti senti come spesso accade in queste situazioni: dopo il sollievo arriva il dolore e assieme ad esso i dubbi cominciano a spuntare...
E' un misto di dolore, speranza e sollievo. Tutto quello che è successo è stato un peso per tutto il gruppo e perciò ci sentiamo sollevati, come se fosse un nuovo inizio. Ma ovviamente è anche molto triste il fatto che le cose siano andate a finire così.
E' difficile per Tarja, per il gruppo, per i fan, per tutti. Ma credo anche che il tempo guarirà le ferite. Probabilmente il sole tornerà a splendere tra qualche settimana.

Sembra quasi la fine di un amore, di una relazione di una vita tra due persone
Sì, ho sempre detto che le relazioni personali sono la cosa più difficile nella vita e qui abbiamo un ottimo esempio di quello che sostengo. Si può paragonare a un divorzio; un bruttissimo divorzio... cui ti sei buttato direttamente dopo il concerto a Helsinki, proprio dopo che il lungo tour è arrivato al traguardo. Quando sei salito sul palco sapevi già il significato di questo show e che avresti dato la lettera a Tarja subito dopo. Come hai vissuto il concerto?
E' stato molto strano. Il giorno più difficile della mia vita... Ma durante il concerto sono stato capace di dimenticare tutto ciò che stava per succedere. Credo che si sia trattato del nostro miglior concerto di sempre.
Tutto è stato semplicemente fantastico: l'arena, tutti gli effetti visivi e molto di più. Mi è venuto da piangere durante lo show per un sacco di motivi.

Quando hai deciso che il titolo del DVD sarebbe stato End of an Era sapevi già come sarebbero andate le cose?
Sì, ho scritto la lettera circa tre settimane prima del concerto e quando abbiamo fissato il titolo abbiamo pensato che sarebbe stato ottimo per il DVD.

Hai dato la lettera a Tarja subito dopo il concerto. Perché non hai aspettato almeno un giorno in modo che lei potesse godersi la fine di questo tour?
La ragione principale è il fatto che volevamo darle la lettera personalmente in modo che non dovesse venire a conoscenza dei contenuti via internet. Voleva tornare in Argentina il giorno successivo al concerto. Ma dopo il concerto non volevamo portarle via l'allegria, tenendo conto anche che doveva andare a una festa. Perciò le abbiamo dato la lettera, l'abbiamo abbracciata e le abbiamo detto: "E' meglio se la leggi domani".
Ci sono molte ragioni e non voglio spiegare nel dettaglio perché abbiamo deciso di gestirla in questo modo. Non c'era possibilità per noi di parlarne diversamente con lei. Era l'unico modo. L'unica cosa che posso dirti è: Credimi.

Così, dopotutto, sei ancora sicuro che sia stato il modo migliore?
Ho la coscienza a posto e non ho dubbi. Neanche in merito al fatto di aver agito correttamente.

Se tu avessi detto che le ragioni della dipartita di Tarja erano "divergenze personali" ci sarebbero stati tantissimi pettegolezzi in seguito.
Sì, esattamente. Questa è una delle ragioni più importanti per il fatto che non doveva essere solamente una lettera personale ma un messaggio destinato a tutti. Se avessimo annunciato che Tarja non era più parte del gruppo e che avremmo continuato con un'altra cantante avremmo dovuto fare interviste su questa storia per anni.
Volevamo che fosse detta la verità perché eravamo un po' preoccupati: le cose andavano male e ci aspettavamo che saltasse fuori qualcosa da parte di Tarja. Abbiamo voluto essere i primi a raccontare la verità.
Ecco perché è successo tutto così in fretta e poi c'è il fatto che Tarja sarebbe partita per l'Argentina subito dopo lo show. Non ci saremmo visti per un mese. Non c'era altra possibilità. In ogni caso non siamo riusciti a parlare per un anno. Abbiamo provato qualche volta ma è stato un incubo. Penso che lei prima debba riuscire ad aprire gli occhi. Non c'è assolutamente niente che avremmo potuto cambiare parlando; per prima cosa è lei a dover capire i fatti e chiarirli a sé stessa.

Come fa una band ad andare in tour senza parlarsi per tutto questo tempo?
Il punto è che non vedevamo mai Tarja perché lei faceva tutto per conto suo. Ai concerti ci incontravamo sempre un quarto d'ora prima dell'inizio dello spettacolo. Non veniva mai alle interviste e non si è mai fatta vedere ai sound check. La vedevamo solo completamente vestita e pronta per andare in scena poco prima che il concerto cominciasse e dopo andava direttamente in macchina all'albergo.
Ecco tutto. La volta successiva la vedevamo al concerto seguente. Non voleva viaggiare con noi, non voleva venire in bus con noi e neanche in macchina. Non voleva venire a mangiare con noi, non voleva fare interviste... niente. Praticamente c'erano due diverse basi.
Durante gli ultimi mesi Tarja ha parlato ai media Finlandesi della sua carriera solista e ha sempre enfatizzato il fatto che i Nightwish non erano l'ambizione della sua vita, che non erano la sua voce e la sua musica, che era solo un guest. Mi ha colpito e ferito con queste parole, perché sembrava che per lei i Nightwish fossero solo fonte di imbarazzo.

Nonostante ciò non pensi che una lettera un po' più impersonale potesse essere un'alternativa?
Non credo che ci siano passaggi troppo personali in quella lettera. L'ho riscritta tante volte e all'inizio includeva molti più dettagli personali. Ci accusa di aver messo in mezzo suo marito, ma noi non lo critichiamo come marito.
Sono sicuro che è un marito meraviglioso e premuroso, ma, nella veste di suo manager, lui è la causa principale di questa situazione. Deve solo essere detto perché voglio che la gente capisca perché abbiamo deciso di fare questo passo. E' giustificato, nonostante l'anno scorso ho detto in molte interviste che se Tarja avesse lasciato i Nightwish la band sarebbe finita. Devo spiegarmi in modo che tutti possano capire. Con queste dichiarazioni mi sto difendendo.

Puoi dirci qualcosa di più su Marcelo, il marito di Tarja? Che cosa ha fatto?
E' come John Lennon e Yoko Ono. Era difficilissimo avvicinarsi a Tarja perchè c'era sempre una grande parete argentina tra di noi. Quando le inviavi una email o uno SMS ricevevi una risposta in inglese di Marcelo. Tutte le richieste finanziarie cominciavano a diventare ridicole.
Non è tanto il fatto che non voleva fare concerti in America o Australia perché i locali erano piccoli e i compensi erano bassi. E' più una cosa legata al suo atteggiamento. E' cominciato tutto con due sue frasi (una l'ho già detta: "Non ho più bisogno dei Nightwish per la mia carriera" e l'altra: "Sai, posso lasciare il gruppo in qualsiasi momento").
Mi sono venuti i sudori freddi quando ho sentito queste cose. E' una mia vecchia amica e la pensa in questo modo! Sono queste le ragioni per cui sta nella band! Era incredibile.

Perciò non hai perso solo una cantante, ma anche un'amica
Sì, ho perso un'amica. Ho perso molto. E quando leggi la lettera e leggi tra le righe spero tu capisca che non sono arrabbiato con lei, che non la odio.

Ma penso che un sacco di brutti ricordi di Tarja rimarranno, è così?
Durante l'ultimo anno sono stato molto frustrato e lo sono ancora. Sono triste e deluso. Quando vedo Tarja non è più lei, è qualcun'altra.

Probabilmente hai letto la risposta di Tarja ai media e ai fan. Scrive che è rimasta scioccata e che non si ritrova nella tua descrizione. Cosa hai pensato quando l'hai letta?
Sono rimasto sorpreso del fatto che sembrasse così scioccata. Non so quanto cieca e sorda debba essere stata durante l'ultimo anno. Le cose andavano talmente male che ho pensato sapesse che stava per succedere qualcosa.

C'è un passaggio nella tua lettera che suona come un'accusa: "Non ci ha mai dato fastidio il fatto che tu non abbia mai partecipato alla scrittura delle canzoni, che in 9 anni tu non sia mai venuta a provare con noi prima di andare in studio. Non il fatto che in tour hai sempre voluto viaggiare separatamente da noi con tuo marito".
Non voglio accusarla con queste parole.

Ma suona un po' così
Ho scritto quelle cose perché i fan possano capire come mai Tarja è sostituibile. Ci sono così tante persone che pensano che i Nightwish siano il gruppo di Tarja, che lei scriva tutte le canzoni, che faccia tutte le interviste e tutto il resto, ma l'ultimo anno lei non ha dato altro al gruppo se non un'ora e mezza sul palco.
Ho semplicemente dovuto mettere tutto nella lettera, in modo che i fan capissero perché abbiamo il diritto di fare una cosa del genere. Non la accuso. Intendo dire davvero quello che ho scritto. Queste cose non mi importano.

Ma come avete fatto a sopravvivere con questa atmosfera in tour?
Perché ci siamo supportati uno con l'altro. La band è cresciuta stando sempre vicina. E' probabilmente l'unico aspetto positivo di tutta questa situazione. Anche la crew e il nostro manager.
Eravamo come una grande famiglia e siamo stati benissimo insieme in tour. In pratica eravamo una famiglia e ogni tanto c'era un ospite.

Tu sei il compositore di tutti i brani e scrivi tutti i testi, così puoi dire di essere l'anima dei Nightwish, ma Tarja era la voce e il volto della band. Sei spaventato dal fatto che molti fan potranno abbandonarvi?
Non posso farci niente. Molti fans lo faranno e non li critico per questo. E' chiaro. Tarja ha dato ai Nightwish la loro immagine, ma credo ancora che molta gente capirà quanto conta l'intero gruppo nei Nightwish.
Non mi lamento del fatto che la posizione di Tarja fosse sbagliata, perché ha funzionato molto bene così. Cerco di vederla come la fine di un'era e l'inizio di una nuova.

A volte è difficile immaginare che c'è una nuova porta che si apre quando una vecchia si chiude, ma è sempre così. Il tempo dirà...
Esattamente. Non sono mai stato spaventato per il futuro del gruppo o per il fatto che non troveremo una nuova cantante. Sono sicuro che ne troveremo una molto brava e sono fiducioso relativamente al nuovo album. Continuerà a suonare come un album dei Nightwish.
La mia più grande preoccupazione è per Tarja e per i ragazzi del gruppo, per come reagiranno a questa situazione. Once ha venduto più di un milione di copie. Non mi importa se il prossimo disco ne venderà solamente 100.000. A chi importa se ci divertiamo tutti e facciamo buona musica?

Il futuro: A maggio verrà pubblicato un libro sui Nightwish, in Tedesco e in Inglese. Sarà una sorta di biografia e documentario sulla storia della band, da disco a disco, da tour a tour, con ricordi d'infanzia dei membri del gruppo e interviste con la crew, con gli artisti e per esempio anche con i genitori di Tuomas. Il documentario include l'ultimo concerto e "spiega tutto" dice Tuomas.

La performance all'Hartwall Areena in DVD, con video promozionali e photogallery è programmata per l'inizio di giugno 2006. E qualcos'altro è ancora certo: Tuomas sta già scrivendo nuovi brani, gli studi sono prenotati e il nuovo album dovrebbe uscire prima dell'estate 2007. Secondo le dichiarazioni di Tuomas la band non ha ancora una nuova cantante. Vogliono occuparsi della questione il prossimo anno.

Interview with Nightwish 104










Valentina och Aldo

Anette, Tuomas







Anette Olzon e Tuomas Holopainen

A cura di Valentina e Aldo

In un lussuoso albergo Milanese eccoci qui con il leader e tastierista dei Nightwish, Tuomas Holopainen e la nuova cantante Anette Olzon. In una mezzora di chiacchierata ecco cosa ci hanno raccontato...

Buona lettura!

Descrivete Dark Passion Play con parole vostre

Tuomas: Con parole nostre? Anette, a questa rispondi tu...

Anette: Mhh ok Tuomas, posso usare le tue parole... eheheh. E' un album imponente, con un massiccio uso dell'orchestra e dei cori. C'è molta varietà nei brani e c'è la novità rappresentata dalle influenze celtiche. Come dice spesso Tuomas è un album malinconico ed è il più heavy che i Nightwish abbiano mai registrato. E ovviamente c'è una nuova cantante eheheh

Tuomas: E' un'oscura commedia di passioni (NdR: Dark Passion Play) da 75 minuti.

Quali sono i vostri pezzi preferiti su questo disco? E perché?

T: La mia preferita è The Poet And The Pendulum, perché per me rappresenta tutto ciò che sono i Nightwish e rispecchia la persona che sono oggi.

A: Difficile scegliere... Oggi dico Meadows Of Heaven eheehe

T: Domani ne dirà un'altra eheheh

A: Sì, me ne piacciono così tante... Comunque la mia preferita è Meadows Of Heaven perché è un brano corposo, è malinconica e cantandola mi sembra di ritornare bambina... E' davvero una bella sensazione.

T: Ed è anche l'idea che ha ispirato il brano, hai fatto centro!

Anette, c'è qualche pezzo su questo album che per te è stato particolarmente difficile da interpretare?

A: Dal punto di vista tecnico direi Sahara, principalmente perché le linee vocali contengono molti semitoni. E' una tecnica che non ho mai usato e ho quasi l'impressione di stonare, è molto strano cantare così.

T: Beh ma comunque sei andata bene sull'album.

A: Sì, non sto dicendo che sia stata una difficoltà insormontabile... Però per me è stata una novità e come per tutte le cose nuove ci vuole un po' a ingranare...

Parliamo del video di Amaranth. Come sarà?

T: Sarà davvero bello. Ho già visto un montaggio non ancora definitivo... Verrà completato tra una settimana. Si basa su un dipinto Finlandese molto famoso, intitolato l'Angelo Ferito. Abbiamo girato due video nello stesso momento e questo è quello più serio, l'altro è un po' meno complesso... Nel video di Amaranth oltre al gruppo che suona c'è anche lo svolgimento di una piccola storia.

A: E' proprio un bel video. Le scenografie mi sono piaciute molto e anche il casting è stato fatto molto bene.

T: Penso che sia il miglior video che abbiamo mai fatto.

Migliore anche di Nemo?

T: E' più semplice... Ci sono meno effetti speciali. Ma tra poco lo vedrò finito e poi capirò se è veramente migliore.

C'è qualche legame tra questo singolo e il prossimo? Secondo alcune fonti dovrebbe trattarsi di Bye Bye Beautiful...

T: Sì, sarà proprio Bye Bye Beautiful, ma le due canzoni non sono collegate. Quando bisogna decidere quali singoli estrarre dagli album è bene tener presente che più i pezzi sono brevi e diretti meglio è, quindi abbiamo preso queste due. Né Bye Bye Beautiful né Amaranth fanno parte delle mie canzoni preferite di quest'album, ma sono ottimi singoli. E' un po' la stessa cosa che successe per Nemo. Non ho mai pensato che fosse un pezzo particolarmente bello, ma è un buon singolo. Capite cosa intendo?

A: Sì sì ti capisco... un singolo deve colpire e rimanere in testa... Penso che sia Amaranth sia Bye Bye Beautiful siano pezzi di questo tipo.

Anette, su internet c'è già qualche fansite dedicato a te. Che cosa ne pensi?

A: Ne ho visto qualcuno, anche se non ho ancora avuto l'occasione di vederli per bene... Penso che sia meraviglioso, wow, sono proprio su di me...

Ti sei divertita a leggere e a rispondere alle domande della Nightmail? Ce n'è qualcuna che ti è rimasta particolarmente impressa?

A: C'era una domanda riguardo al personaggio dei Moomin che mi rappresentava di più... Solo che io guardavo quel cartone animato tantissimo tempo fa e allora sono dovuta andare a cercare su Google i personaggi per decidere quale fosse il mio... Sì, direi che questa è stata la domanda che spiccava maggiormente per originalità.

Che cosa ha convinto i ragazzi a sceglierti come nuova cantante?

A: Chiedi a loro! Eheehe Forse volevano una pazza nel gruppo... Beh, a giudicare da quello che dice sempre Tuomas penso che sia stata la mia personalità e il fatto che ci troviamo molto bene insieme...

T: Sì, questa è la cosa più importante. Naturalmente anche la voce è un elemento indispensabile. E hanno giocato il loro ruolo anche degli elementi più concreti come la padronanza dell'inglese e la capacità di resistere in tour... Anche se riguardo a quest'ultima non sappiamo ancora niente

A: Eh no, magari dopo un mese mi ritroverò completamente KO e dovrete trovarne un'altra! Eheheh

T: C'è sempre una certa percentuale di rischio, ma con lei ci sentiamo abbastanza sicuri.

A: Sì, si spera. Se la mia voce ce la fa potete contare su di me.

T: Sono sicuro che ci saranno anche degli scontri tra di noi, perché siamo diversi. Certo, la simpatia è reciproca e ci troviamo molto bene... Ma abbiamo una personalità forte entrambi e quindi ci sarà qualche battibecco. Lei è molto diretta e trasparente. E poi parla, parla... Io non parlo! Non sono diretto e...

A: Nessuno di voi lo è... Forse un po' Jukka, ma... Penso che potrò essere utile a tutti loro. Gli servirà avere una persona in grado di comunicare all'interno del gruppo. Ho studiato psicologia e penso di poter usare le cose che ho imparato. In particolare ho approfondito le dinamiche di gruppo e so che questo è il loro atteggiamento e che ci porterà a qualche conflitto.

T: Però secondo me parlare sempre diventa anche irrispettoso. Parlare non risolve tutti i problemi. A volte ho bisogno di stare da solo e riflettere autonomamente. Se tutti i problemi del mondo si potessero risolvere parlando, questo sarebbe un Paradiso in Terra... Secondo me le persone devono anche guardarsi dentro.

A: Anche questa è una cosa molto importante. A volte mi capita di trovarmi con delle persone per le quali il silenzio è insopportabile e che per evitarlo parlano di qualsiasi cosa... Invece a me piacerebbe un po' di silenzio, perché non è necessario sempre parlare.

T: Eh sì... Ma qual'era la domanda? Ah già... (risate generali) Beh, lasciatemi aggiungere ancora una cosa... Penso che una maniera di misurare la vera amicizia sia quella di sedere seduti insieme in silenzio, senza nessun imbarazzo. E a me e Anette è capitato di farlo in studio. Non c'è niente di sbagliato nello stare in silenzio.

A: Penso che per me non ci saranno problemi, perché so anche quando è il momento di stare zitta. Ma sicuramente sul tour bus capiterà di litigare.

T: Bene, dopo questa digressione possiamo andare avanti... eheheh

Tuomas. nel brano For The Heart I Once Had mi sembra di cogliere dei richiami ai For My Pain. Ci sarà mai un nuovo capitolo di questo progetto?

T: In effetti ci sono già 10 brani pronti già da un anno... Ma poi Altti, il principale compositore dei pezzi, ha avuto un figlio e anche gli altri erano tutti molto impegnati... Penso che sarà un progetto senza una fine, un giorno forse potrete ascoltare il nuovo album, perché i brani sono già pronti.

Ho visto un'anteprima del nuovo calendario dei Nightwish per il 2008. Per ogni mese c'è un'immagine ricollegabile a ciascuna canzone di Dark Passion Play.

T: Cosa hai visto?

A: Il calendario dell'anno prossimo... Con le immagini... Per ogni mese c'è un'immagine... C'è Amaranth...

T: Ma cosa dici, quali immagini, è un segreto!

A: Ma no, non è più un segreto... E' stato pubblicato, l'ho visto su internet già qualche settimana fa eheheh.

T: Ma no, era l'ultimo piccolo segreto dell'album... L'ultima sorpresa...

Beh dai sono immagini molto piccole, non si riesce a capire bene come siano... Quelle ingrandite sono solo quelle dei poster, Master Passion Greed, 7 Days To The Wolves e The Poet And The Pendulum...

T: Mah sono un po' deluso... Comunque, cosa volevi chiedermi n proposito?

Hai preso parte anche tu alla creazione di queste immagini? Le vedremo anche nel booklet di Dark Passion Play?

T: Sì, l'idea era quella di rappresentare visivamente ogni brano, tenendo conto dei testi. Sono tutte mie idee, eccetto 7 Days To The Wolves che è stata creata autonomamente dall'artista che si è occupato dei disegni.

Qual è la tua preferita?

T: ... 7 Days To The Wolves! (scoppia a ridere)

E la tua Anette?

A: Mi piace molto Amaranth. E' così bella.

T: Anche Meadows Of Heaven mi piace molto.

A: E bella anche quella di Eva... Anche se qualcuno ha trasformato l'orsacchiotto in un orsetto rabbioso con Photoshop...

T: Sì l'ho visto anche io... Ma ci sono cose su cui bisogna scherzare. Ho un gran senso dell'umorismo, ma visto ciò di cui parla il pezzo non è bello riderci sopra...

Chi ha creato la copertina di Dark Passion Play?

T: E' stato lo stesso disegnatore che ha fatto anche tutte le altre immagini. Il pendolo è una sorta di tema che attraversa tutto l'album, quindi l'abbiamo voluto anche mettere anche sulla copertina. E' un pendolo che ti taglia a metà... fiuuuuuuuu splat!

A: ... Come potete sentire anche sull'album

The Poet And The Pendulum è citata nel titolo dell'album (NdR Dark Passion Play e una delle cinque parti di The Poet And The Pendulum) e come dicevamo prima c'è anche il pendolo sulla copertina... Che cosa rappresenta questo nell'economia dell'album? Simboleggia forse la morte e la rinascita dei Nightwish negli ultimo due anni?

T: Beh presto avrete anche i testi e potrai farti una tua idea... Ma, comunque è un qualcosa del genere eheheh

A: Ci provano tutti... Ma lui non rivela mai niente!

T: Beh qualche suggerimento ogni tanto... Ma non mi piace parlare troppo dei testi, lo trovo fastidioso, perché rovina il mistero. Cerco tutto il tempo di creare qualcosa di interessante e distruggerei le mie creazioni se andassi a spiegarle. E' come se tu volessi andare al cinema e ci fosse qualcuno fuori dalla porta che ti raccontasse com'è il film prima di entrare... In questo caso ti piacerebbe che ti venisse rivelato il finale?

Tuomas, mi puoi dire come nasce un album dei Nightwish? Come scrivi le canzoni? Ti capita mai di avere idee in tour oppure in vacanza...

T: Un po' tutto quello che hai detto. L'ispirazione mi viene dappertutto... Sul tour bus, a casa mentre faccio colazione, mentre leggo... Viene tutto dal mio stato d'animo. Non so bene dove nascano le idee, non voglio neanche indagare troppo... Per completare le canzoni e per trasformarle in realtà, però, ho bisogno di solitudine. Non riesco ad immaginarmi a comporre tutti i pezzi nel tour bus per esempio. Per farlo ho bisogno di calma. Le idee, invece, mi vengono un po' dappertutto.

L'orchestra è quasi un sesto elemento della band. Come avviene la stesura delle parti orchestrali? Decidi tu quali strumenti utilizzare e che tipo di enfasi dare alle composizioni o si tratta di un lavoro svolto a quattro mani con Pip Williams?

T: Per come la vedo io l'orchestra è come una tastiera con degli ottimi suoni... Per me non deve trattarsi solamente di un'aggiunta alle composizioni ultimate, deve integrarsi nei pezzi. L'orchestra suona quello che suonerei io se avessi 20 mani. Pip Williams ha contribuito con molte idee. C'è un assolo di Oboe alla fine di The Poet And The Pendulum che ha suggerito lui. Penso che ci siamo sentiti per telefono almeno due volte al giorno durante i 6 mesi che hanno preceduto la registrazione dell'album. E' stata una collaborazione molto fruttuosa. Io non capisco le note, quindi comunicavamo con degli aiuti visivi.

Come avete contattato tutti gli ospiti presenti sull'album? Per esempio Nollaig Casey per il violino o Troy Donockley per la cornamusa...

T: E' stato Pip Williams a organizzare tutto. Io gli ho solo detto che avrei voluto una cornamusa in quel punto o un violino e lui ha trovato i musicisti. Lui ha molte conoscenze, questi artisti sono tutti suoi buoni amici.

Pensi che in futuro sarà possibile portare tutti questi ospiti in concerto con voi per un evento speciale? E riguardo al DVD con l'orchestra? Pensate ancora di farlo?

T: Sicuramente. Stavolta ci proveremo con più convinzione. Mi piacerebbe molto finire questo tour con uno show con l'orchestra e il coro, con gli strumenti celtici e magari anche con dei ballerini. E' necessario un grosso sforzo organizzativo, ci vorranno dei grossi investimenti... Non posso promettere niente ma ci proveremo.

State già provando per il nuovo tour? Come si svolgono le prove?

A: Non abbiamo ancora cominciato, ma lo faremo presto. Partiranno loro e io li raggiungerò più tardi.

T: Inizieremo il 12 agosto. Insieme ad Anette proveremo in maniera intensiva per 4 settimane. Abbiamo scelto 25 brani da preparare.

Che piani avete da qui a ottobre quando comincerà il tour?

T: Prove, prove, prove...

A: E promozione dell'album.

Niente vacanze?

T: Sì, una settimana e mezza.

Siete molto impegnati..

T: Sì, ma va bene così. Non ho nient'altro di meglio da fare

A: Sì, penso che avere qualcosa da fare sia una buona cosa... Sono un'anima irrequieta.

T: Ci piace viaggiare, vedere posti nuovi...

A: Ma odiamo gli aeroporti

T: Sì... per favore qualcuno inventi il teletrasporto!!!

Anette, come ti vedremo sul palco? Che tipo di approccio hai dal vivo? E come sarà il tuo look?

A: Non sono ancora completamente sicura di come mi vestirò. Collaborerò con un giovane stilista finlandese, vedremo che cosa salterà fuori

T: Magari nuda eheheh

A: Sì, questi saranno i nuovi Nightwish... niente più misteri, tutti i locali strapieni... di soli uomini! Eeheheh. Comunque la settimana prossima incontrerò questo designer e vedremo. Penso sarà uno stile abbastanza rockeggiante, piuttosto diverso da quello di Tarja. Sul palco si vedrà... Non si tratta di pezzi sui quali si può saltellare in giro, bisogna concentrarsi. Ma posso comunque scatenarmi e cercherò di coinvolgere i ragazzi della band il più possibile.

Cosa ti aspetti dal prossimo tour? Pensi che riuscirai a sopportare tutti gli inconvenienti e ad essere sempre pronta sia fisicamente sia mentalmente?

A: Beh, mentalmente può essere difficile... Stando tanto tempo lontana da casa è ovvio che avrò i miei momenti no, ma spero che siano proprio pochi. Avrò bisogno di rimanere sempre in forma, spero di poter fare un po' di ginnastica e di mangiare sano, perché queste sono le cose che mi fanno sentire bene. Avere cura di sé stessi è molto importante per una cantante e anche per un musicista. Spero di riuscire a preservare la mia voce, l'importante è fare in modo di riposare abbastanza e dormire bene nel tour bus. Sperando che i bus siano abbastanza confortevoli. Comunque penso positivo e sono sicura che mi troverò molto bene sul palco.

Fatta eccezione per Moondance avete sempre suonato una cover per fare in modo che Tarja si riposasse un po' a metà concerto. Nel nuovo album ci sono quasi due brani in cui canta solo Marco. Porrete fine alla tradizione della cover?

T: Non ne siamo ancora sicuri... Per esempio, suoneremo in Israele e lì le circostanze ci obbligano a suonare Symphony Of Destruction, per via del significato che questo brano ha. Non abbiamo ancora deciso nessuna cover da provare. Abbiamo Last Of The Wilds, una strumentale in cui lei si può riposare... The Islander dove Anette canta solo dopo i primi tre minuti, quindi...

A: Vedremo quando proveremo. Penso che sarà evidente se avrò bisogno di fermarmi o meno...

Riguardo alla cover di The Heart Asks Pleasure First (NdR tema del film Lezioni di Piano) come mai l'autore non ha concesso il permesso di pubblicarla? State ancora provando a convincerlo?

T: No, abbiamo rinunciato. Ha fatto capire molto chiaramente che non gradisce la nostra versione, non gli piace il testo e che non ci darà mai il permesso di pubblicarla. Davanti a una risposta così c'è poco da dire... Se non gli è piaciuta dobbiamo rispettare la sua decisione, anche se per noi è difficile. Avrebbe potuto dirlo un po' prima, così non l'avremmo neanche registrata... A noi piace, era intesa come un tributo nei suoi confronti. Non ci volevamo prendere gioco di lui o della canzone.

A: Ma lo rispettiamo, possiamo sempre ascoltare la nostra versione a casa.

L'album verrà pubblicato anche in una versione con un secondo cd strumentale. Come mai è stata fatta questa scelta? Saranno versioni orchestrali o strumentali?

T: Non so il motivo... Avevamo già fatto una versione strumentale di Once e tutti ne erano entusiasti. Tutto è cominciato perché la musica somiglia molto a una colonna sonora e abbiamo ricevuto richieste per utilizzarla in film o cose del genere.

A: E' una bella cosa... Puoi ascoltarti queste canzoni senza la voce e sono comunque così belle... Aiutano a rilassarsi

T: Sì o a fare qualche viaggio mentale... Sono utili anche per esercitarsi nel canto o per fare il Karaoke.

Sapete se l'album verrà pubblicato in qualche edizione particolare, box set o cose del genere?

T: Mi sa che anche stavolta ce ne saranno una dozzina.. eheheh. Non so come saranno però

Anette, quali sono i tuoi gruppi preferiti?

A: Dipende... Però mi piacciono molto i Sonata Arctica e da poco ho scoperto i Finntroll, un'altra super band Finlandese... Li ho visti al Tuska, sono stati fantastici. E poi gli Amorphis. Un sacco di band finlandesi.

E al di fuori del metal?

A: Beh, l'ultimo album che ho comprato è quello di Amy Winehouse... E' molto interessante. Sembra di sentire una cantante degli anni 40... Poi Nelly Furtado, Gwen Stefani...

Quali sono le tue voci preferite?

A: Ce ne sono tante, ma tra tutte Celine Dion per me è la migliore che esista al mondo. Come voce maschile... Tony Kakko dei Sonata Arctica.

I tuoi gusti sono cambiati rispetto a prima di iniziare la tua avventura con i Nightwish?

A: Beh sì, ora sono un po' più interessata al metal, penso che sia naturale. Non sono cambiata molto, perché ho sempre ascoltato tutti i tipi di musica. Ora però mi sto concentrando sul metal perché ho bisogno di entrare nella giusta disposizione d'animo.

Avete già in programma date italiane?

T: Sì, all'inizio di marzo per due date. E' tutto quello che sappiamo per ora.

A: Sì, sappiamo solo che suoneremo a Milano e in un'altra città.

T: Sicuramente almeno qui, all'inizio di Marzo.

Anette, quali sono gli aspetti del carattere dei tuoi bandmates che ti piacciono di più?

A: Cosa mi piace di più? Loro sono molto diversi... Jukka è molto responsabile, mette sempre a posto le cose... Come me è uno a cui piace divertirsi... Gli piace uscire con me la sera. Emppu è molto sincero e aperto nei confronti degli altri, siamo molto affini. Marco è una persona calma ed è un po' il papà della band. Ha molta esperienza; io gli chiedo molti consigli riguardo alla band e sto sempre a sentire quello che dice. E Tuomas è il Maestro (NdR Lo dice in italiano). E' la testa della band, un vero genio. Compone della musica stupenda. E' molto silenzioso, ma abbiamo comunque tanto in comune. Tuomas è un ragazzo che viene dalla campagna e anche io provengo da un ambiente simile. E per finire Ewo... è la persona più divertente, più pazza e più amabile che abbia mai conosciuto.

Interview with Nightwish 103

Source: Skå
By: Yvonne Erlandsson
November 2007

I logen med Nightwish-Anette

2007-11-29 13:54 (Uppdaterad 14:42) KÖPENHAMN

Trummisen Jukka Nevalainen gör sit-ups på golvet. Basisten Marco Hietala kommer släntrande med en kopp te i handen. Anette Olzon letar i ryggsäcken efter kvällens scenkläder, flyttar en papperskorg som stod framför spegeln och slår sig ned med sminkväskan. Dags att gå in i rollen som sångerska i firade metalbandet Nightwish.
– Det här är det glamourösa rocklivet, säger Anette med en lätt ironisk blinkning.

Bland 2000 sökande från 50 länder valdes just Helsingborgstjejen Anette Olzon ut som ny sångerska i Nightwish efter sparkade operadivan Tarja Turunen. En utmaning som så här långt visat sig passa sångerskan och musikalartisten som hand i handske. Bandets första platta med Anette vid micken, Dark Passion Play, har blivit en stor framgång, toppat listor världen över och sålt guld även i Sverige. Sedan början av oktober har de varit på turné. Hittills har man gjort 28 spelningar i bland annat USA och Canada och i onsdags kväll var det dags att inleda den nordiska biten av turnén. Skånska Dagbladet tittade in i logen hos Anette Olzon timmarna innan hon skulle göra Köpenhamnsdebut inför 3 500 i KB-Hallen.
– Jag sökte faktiskt till Phantom of the Opera när den gick på Det Ny Teater här i Köpenhamn, berättar Anette. Men det blev ingenting av det. Så ja, det här är första gången på scen i Köpenhamn.
Hur har livet som sångerska i Nightwish varit hittills?
– Det har varit upp och ned. Det är väldigt roligt, men så har man haft sina dagar när man är sjuk eller mår sämre, säger Anette och lutar sig bakåt i den svarta skinnsoffan i logen.
Roligast och tråkigast?
– Det roligaste är att folk i Amerika var så välkomnande, de kramar om en och säger snälla saker. Det tråkigaste var vid en spelning i Canada, när en tjej klättrade upp på axlarna på sin pojkvän, sträckte upp armarna, gav mig "fingret" och skrek: "Anette sucks!"

Sömnlös natt Incidenten satte igång tankarna på att någon galning kunde hitta på något mycket värre.
– Den natten låg jag sömnlös, säger Anette.
Hon sätter sig vid spegeln för att sminka sig inför kvällens konsert. I strålkastarljuset på scenen krävs lite extra färg. Och lite blek och trött ser hon ut, Skånes nytända superrockstjärna.
Rocklivet är ganska hårt, eller hur?
– Det är hårt. Det är också långtråkigt ibland, man får fördriva tiden med att läsa böcker och vänta. I Amerika var det en del långtråkiga stunder, men då fick man tid att tänka efter. Man lever för den där en och en halv timmen på scenen hela dagen.
Jukka drar igång sit-upsen på golvet igen. Trummisar brukar vara vältränade och måste vara det för att orka. Anette är också en tjej som brukar träna mycket.
– Jag gjorde det. Men nu är jag inte så bra på det längre. I USA bodde vi i bussen och det blev inte tillfälle till träning. Men sedan ska vi bo på fina hotell med gym. Då ska jag börja träna igen.
Rösten får Anette i alla fall hålla i topptrim. Hon sjunger 16-17 låtar varje kväll, långa episka stycken som The poet and the pendulum, krävande sånger med många höga toner.
– Jag är inte van vid att sjunga så här mycket, så det är slitigt. De gånger vi gjort tre gig i rad har det varit tufft. Man blir rädd att sjunga fel om man blir för stressad.
Vem är vän? Det finns också andra avigsidor med att plötsligt bli kändis. Alla vill ha en bit av Anette.
– Det jobbigaste just nu är alla människor som vill vara mina vänner och andra som man trodde var ens vänner som visar sig vara respektlösa. De förstår inte att man inte har tid att träffa dem när man har några få lediga dagar och vill vara med sina närmaste.
Vilken press, vilket hårt tempo, och vilka höga förväntningar en person i Anettes position lever med kan vara svårt för alla att förstå.
– Jag vill vara snäll, men jag har fått snäsa av folk. Kanske heter det nu att jag har blivit diva. Men i så fall får det vara så, jag måste skydda mig själv, säger Anette.
Familj och vänner som ska se konserten kommer och kikar in genom logen. Anette fortsätter med sin förvandling, men sminkningen går inte riktigt så bra som hon tänkt sig. Men så kommer en räddande ängel, bästisen Linda Lindskog som till vardags jobbar på Idas hårdesign i Helsingborg. Med snabba penseldrag ger hon Anette den rätta looken för att ta sig an rollen.
– Här börjar det. Det är inte samma person som är där ute, säger Anette Olzon.
Fakta: Nightwish turné når på fredagen Göteborg för att dra vidare till Oslo, Stockholm, Umeå, Finland, Japan, Kina, Australien och USA.

Bästisen Linda Lindskog rycker ut och hjälper Anette sminka sig inför konserten. Basisten Marco Hietala tar igen sig i fåtöljen bredvid. – Det har gått utmärkt med Anette så här långt, säger Tuomas Holopainen, grundare till Nightwish och bandets keyboardist. Men nu känns det lite nervöst inför spelningarna i Norden där vi har våra mesta fans. Foto: Ulrika Lahti – Jag använder inte alls mycket smink privat, säger Anette Olzon och med paletten i hand. I bakgrunden studerar trummisen Jukka Nieavlainen sin dator. Foto: Ulrika Lahti Trummisen Jukka Nevalainen håller formen trots att han är på turné. Sit-ups är en gammal god variant för fasta magmuskler. Foto: Ulrika LahtiGoth-korsetten på plats. – Men det är inte alldeles lätt att få på den efter all fet mat i USA, säger Anette Olzon med ett skratt. Foto: Ulrika Lahti

Nightwish - Eva

Source: Encyclopedia Metallum

This sucks - 30%
Written by OverchargeddCat on February 19th, 2008

Nightwish has always been a band that I respect more than I actually like (the opposite of a band like Gorgoroth whom I have no fucking respect for at all but still make some pretty damn good black metal.) Anyway, Tarja Turunen had talent, there's no doubt about that, but she always struck me as being one of the most overrated vocalists in the metal world. She could sing but it was always her image that made her really popular. In my eyes she pales in comparison to other vocalists such as Matt Barlow, Hansi Kürsch, Jens Carlsson, Andi Deris, Michael Kiske, Messiah Marcolin, and well the list goes on and on. Anyway, enough of that, onto Eva. This song is basically trying to give the Nightwish fans a transition into the new singer. Anette Olzon isn't quite what Tajra was in my opinon, but she still isn't bad. No, the problem of this song isn't really with her. The problem with this song is that it is boring as fucking hell.

At no point in this entire track was I ever amazed, or even interested. Let's get one this out of the way here, this is not a metal track. It's more like a pop ballad. Now I don't have any problems with balads at all (I'm a huge fan of Iced Earth's Someting Wicked This Way Comes album) but this is just plain bad. This is something Evanescence fangirls will eat right up. (as many other reviews of recent Nightwish meterial have pointed out.) This song isn't even something you can enjoy for the "Opera" elements, because Anette Olzon can't sing in an operatic style. This means that all Nightwish has become in recent years is a band that is trying desperately to appeal to a mainstream audience of goths and scene kids.

Older Nightwish may not have been my style, but I still respected it for what I did for the genre. However, this is just marketed, mainstream crap.

Disappointing... - 60%
Written by NecroWraith on August 14th, 2007

I loved Tarja, and wasn't sure if Nightwish would ever find a suitable replacement. Finally, they announced they found her: Olzon. I had mixed hopes about their new sound. Was she gonna be as great and powerful a singer as Tarja? So far, I have to say... no.

Yes, this song is a ballad. Nothing against that personally; after all, in an interview, Nightwish said their new CD is gonna feature both heavy songs as well as ballads. At least they're not going all-ballad-ey, so I'm not complaining.

What I am complaining about, however, is Olzon's voice on this single. Eva is a boring song. Anyone has to admit that. I'd imagine Tarja's voice would have added a little bit more power to this song, but Olzon just doesn't cut it. Her voice is average and boring. I've heard millions of better singers than her, and I'm convinced her voice just does not fit in with Nightwish at all.

Imagine her singing some of the faster, heavier songs. Tarja made Nightwish seem interesting, dark, mysterious, enchanting... Olzon seems to do the opposite. In fact, I would go as far as to say I wouldn't be surprised if I heard a new Nightwish song on one of the pop radio stations.

Overall, yes, Olzon does have a nice voice, but I've heard better, and it definitely does not seem suitable for Nightwish's style. Sorry Nightwish.

Enough about her voice. How is the rest of the song? I'll have to admit, the rest is mediocre at best. Where are the riffs? Solos? Well, I guess I can't complain about that too much. It IS a ballad, afterall.

I'm just hoping Olzon will prove me wrong and add the same magic to Nighwish's music Tarja did. I honestly doubt it. But I'm still hoping...

-Marcin C.
Original but boring - 45%
Written by EpicaNightfall on June 2nd, 2007

For Tarja's replacement they couldn't have chosen someone much more different. Olzon is not an operatic singer, she has none of Tarja's bombastic power and cold majesty. Instead Nightwish have opted for a soft and warm pop/folk voice very reminiscent of Within Temptation. This change was to be expected as Tarja's vocal parts became less operatic and more pop as the band progressed and Olzon is far more suited to this new style. Olzon is a satisfactory singer, perfectly talented and capable, yet she has no real distinctive element to her voice and perhaps will not have the power to keep up with the faster and heavier songs.

Nightwish again prove themselves one of the most original and evolving bands in metal (by this I don't mean weird time signatures and obscure ambient sections pseudo-evolution) by releasing something totaly unlike any other metal band has done. They released what sounds like a ballad from a Disney or Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. This is not a metal ballad, it lacks the clear distinct melodies and hyperbolic emotion that is typical to metal ballads. Instead it is a subtle, rather warm affair, symphonic but in no way epic. There is no hint of the trademark overlfow of emotions in Nightwish's previous ballads. Thankfully there are absolutely no unnecessary power chords plastered over the song as I expected and there is a nice solo, yet fails to compare to Emppu's more emotive slow solos (Swanheart, Nemo etc).

The problem with this single is that it is simply not catchy, at all memorable or containing any particular emotion or atmosphere. It remains simply passable, listenable, yet entirely uninteresting. The artwork is poor; coldly computerised and there are no bonus tracks included which make it as a release even less interesting. If you're a big fan of musicals, Disney or Within Temptation ballads you might be interested in this but it will unlikely remain a classic. For most people it is undeniably something unexpected yet fails to live up to its potential.
A Change For The Better - 80%
Written by corviderrant on June 2nd, 2007

To be honest, my exposure to Nightwish has been limited. But what I've heard of the band with Tarja Turunen, well...she is a wonderful vocalist, don't get me wrong, but her style didn't always seem to mesh with the music. Keep in mind that she wasn't at all into metal when she joined the band, and it showed in that her vocals often seemed out of place. Especially with the more mainstream direction Nightwish have been going in the last few years. I am not at all putting her down by stating that Annette Blyckert (Olzon) is a more apropos replacement for her.

I say this because Annette feels like a much better fit in the band's sound. Her vocal patterns feel more natural and her voice actually suits this song well--though I do agree with another reviewer in that I'd like to hear her really cut loose on something like "End Of All Hope". Her soft and soothing approach at the song's beginning give way to a more emotive wailing by the end and it flows very naturally. The chorus is indeed very catchy and the backing vocals at the end nearly brought a tear to my eye. Her voice and accent are entirely different from Tarja's, since she's Swedish, but it adds an extra level of charm and style. Can she hang? If this song is any indicator, yes, so far so good.

The song itself is a very pretty ballad, something I'm known to be a sucker for--but only if it's well-written and not formulaic. And Nightwish did a very nice job on this song, with Tuomas' keyboards leading the way and Emppu dealing out a very melodic solo. The rhythm section does its job, all you can ask for in a song like this, and does it well. And Marco kept his mouth shut on this one, a good move. Good vocal melodies on the chorus in particular as well as good vocal layering in general; Annette lays down sweet harmonies that sound right on and as I said, her more emotional cries at the end in the background are beautiful.

Overall, this is an auspicious debut for Miss Olzon, now let's see what else the woman can do, I say. And I bet it will be good too. Let's give her a chance to show off what she can do and judge fairly, I say.
The same Nightwish, new singer - 95%
Written by evildude on May 29th, 2007

I was surprised when I saw this song is a ballad. Not because Nightwish dosen't have any ballads, because it does and some are great, but because it's their new single. On Wikipedia it states clearly:
"Lead band member Tuomas Holopainen has in an interview said that the album will have a lot in common with the last album (Once). For example, the band will keep the new kind of harder songs (such as "Nemo", "Wish I Had an Angel" and "Planet Hell"), but there will as well be softer ballads."
"There will as well be softer ballads" means that a few ballads will appear on the album, but most of the song will be harder, so I don't understand why emphatise on a ballad. The reason could be that they wanted to present Olzon's voice, but, then again, there are many who can sing a ballad. I was more curious as to how she sings a harder song like "End of all hope".

These things aside, the song is a very good one. "Angels fall first" is one of the things I dislike from Nightwish because I feel like Tarja's voice is piercing my brain. It's nice to see a change like this one. I would rather prefer a less operatic, more symphonic, heavier Nightwish. In "Eva", Olzon's voice is in harmony with the instrumental part. It's low and melancholic in the first half, raising in the second half where the instrumental gets a little harder and more complex.

To be honest, I never understood why Nightwish are considered power metal. The atmosphere is closer to folkgothic and the instruments closer to a symphonicheavy. Even they state their genre is "melodic heavy metal with a female vocalist".

In conclusion, I find this song to be very good one. It's simply Nightwish. The same Nightwish and a new singer.
There is also a short solo in the song, a solo that reminded me of the one from "Nemo".
Not up to Nightwish standards - 60%  Written by TommyA on May 29th, 2007

I don't usually review singles but "Eva" is an exception since we get to hear a new singer and, apparently, a completely different Nightwish. Even though the song doesn't show a very radical change in Nightwish's style, it's still clear that it's a new era for them.

However, this change isn't so great. "Eva" is a ballad, and not exactly the best one they've ever released. Nightwish ballads are usually amazing and beautiful (like "Angels Fall First" or "Two for Tragedy"). "Eva" doesn't seem to reach that same level. Don't get me wrong, it's a very powerful track with a catchy chorus and a memorable ending, yet it's just not up to the Nightwish standard.

This change, however, isn't as drastic in the music as it is in the vocals. As you probably know, Tarja Turunen was fired after the "End of and Era" concert. Instead of her, we have Anette Olzon. She's a good singer, yet doesn't have the same vocal range as Tarja. Her voice is undeniably beautiful, yet I consider Nightwish to be an operatic metal band (like most of the fans do). Anette's voice is far from operatic, which is why I feel that Nightwish made a big mistake in hiring her.

If "Eva" is the best song on the upcoming album, Nightwish have a big problem. I also feel that, although Anette voice was heard in this ballad, it will be drowned by the music because it's just not powerful enough. Anyway, it's a decent song, but it's just unsatisfactory.

Interview with Ayreon 2

Source: Rainbowflame's Metal Domain
By: Joseph White
January 2001

In this interview, Arjen Anthony Lucassen, the brilliant multi-instumentalist and songwriter behind Ayreon, talks about his music, his roots as a musician, his love of Rainbow and Pink Floyd and of a possible project with Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson.

Joseph: First off, thanks for doing this interview for RainbowFlame's Metal Domain.
Arjen: No problem. That's a good name, Rainbow is one of my favorite bands and Rainbow Rising is the best album ever made.

Joseph: The lady who runs RainbowFlame's Metal Domain is a big Rainbow fan and she is also an Ayreon fan. She will love the fact that you are into Rainbow.
Arjen: Ritchie Blackmore is just an amazing guitarist. Rainbow had a huge influence on me as a musician.

Joseph: I was just going to ask you about that. Which guitarists influenced you the most? Obviously, Blackmore is one of them.
Arjen: Yes. Also David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), he is just a tremendous guitarist, every note is perfect.

Joseph: I've noticed that a lot of Ayreon's vocal melodies have Beatles in it.
Arjen: I love the Beatles. John Lennon was brilliant.

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Arjen Lucassen

Joseph: I hear big Pink Floyd similarities on The Dream Sequencer as well.
Arjen: Pink Floyd influenced me, I just love their work. Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, T. Rex, Glitter. All of those bands can be heard in my work. When I was a kid, I used to dress up in a wig and pretend I was a rock star and sing to different songs and pretend to play guitar. And then I decided that I would play guitar for real.

Joseph: Eddie Van Halen is one of my favorite guitarists, his style is just so energetic.
Arjen: When I first heard Van Halen, I was blown away. I thought "wow". Great stuff.

Joseph: You interviewed David Gilmour last year. Any chance a project will come out of that?
Arjen: No. David will not do it. When I talked to him, I could tell that he was not interested at all. I told him how Pink Floyd influenced all these progressive bands like Dream Theater and Shadow Gallery and he didn't seem to care. He told me he didn't like progressive music. He is more interested in his roots as a musician which is not really progressive.

Joseph: That's too bad because I think about the two of you together and it blows me away. It's the ultimate "dream team" for me. As a fan of Pink Floyd and a big fan of yours, it would be great. You mention Shadow Gallery. Are you a fan?
Arjen: Well, I received an e-mail from Gary Wehrkamp (guitars/keyboards) from Shadow Gallery telling me how much he admired my work. I hadn't really listened to Shadow Gallery before so when I finally listened to their albums, I was blown away. I put them right up there with Dream Theater, they're just a great band. And then, of course, that led to me working with Gary Wehrkamp on Flight of the Migrator. His solos were just amazing. I admire him, he is much more technical and faster than I am.

Joseph: Shadow Gallery is one of my favorite bands. A few months ago, I interviewd Mike Baker, Shadow Gallery's vocalist. He said that as he has been working on the new Shadow Gallery album (which will come out sometime this year), Into the Electric Castle was a huge influence on him. What do you think of that? That you are influencing other artists?
Arjen: Wow, that's great! Its really cool that that my work is so respected by other musicians. When I listen to Shadow Gallery's new album, I'm going to see if I can pick up any Ayreon on it. Shadow Gallery, they are big Pink Floyd fans, too. In fact, Gary and I have talked about recording a Pink Floyd song together.

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Click here to read the review of
Ayreon: Flight of the Migrator

Joseph: Mike Baker mentioned something about that, too. He said that he wanted to be included and that he would love to sing it.
Arjen: Yes, I think Mike and I will both sing on it.

Joseph: When I introduce family and friends to Ayreon, I try to describe Ayreon's sound, which is difficult for me. I usually compare your sound to Pink Floyd and the Beatles but heavier. How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard Ayreon before?
Arjen: That's hard, you know. I would probably do it the same way. I'd compare Ayreon to Pink Floyd and the Beatles and Zeppelin. I'd call it adventurous music like Queen and Rush. I listened to albums like Jesus Christ Superstar and Tommy (the Who) and the Wall--concept albums. I love adventurous music. Operation: Mindcrime, too. That's what I try to do with Ayreon, I try to be adventurous but it is hard. It is hard to come up with something new for every album.

Joseph: I just introduced Ayreon to my little brother--he's eleven years old. He loves Ayreon.
Arjen: That's great that younger people enjoy my music. I'm just bringing '70s music back and it's cool that people like your brother like it. Of course, it's new to him.

Joseph: I've introduced him to Boston and Shadow Gallery and a little bit of Dream Theater but he likes Ayreon the most. In fact, his birthday is coming up here pretty soon and I bought him the Dream Sequencer as a birthday gift. He received his first cd player for Christmas but he doesn't have any cds to play yet.
Arjen: That's great! You always remember your first album and that's great that his will be Ayreon. Maybe he'll grow up and become a musician and then his album will be someone's first album.

Joseph: On Flight of the Migrator, that really worked out well with Bruce Dickinson on "Into the Black Hole". That song came out great. How did you hook up with him?
Arjen: Well, I knew the manager of Helloween, who was also Bruce's manager. I asked him to give Bruce one of my cds. Bruce loved it. But then, he rejoined Iron Maiden and I thought he would never have the time to work with me. So I kept calling and calling. Finally, I reached him and he flew to Belgium to record the vocals. He loved "Into the Black Hole" because it gave him more room to work with as a vocalist. With Iron Maiden, he has faster vocal melodies and not as much room to work. It was different for him. It was really cool to be standing next to a musician I admired so much and he was singing my song, I couldn't believe it. It was just a great feeling.

Joseph: Is there a chance you will work with Bruce again?
Arjen: Yes. We were going to do an album together and Bruce was going to write the story. But I haven't heard from him because he is so busy, you know. So I'm not sure.

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Arjen and Bruce Dickinson

Wow, that would be great!
Arjen: Now I hear he is working with Rob Halford and Geoff Tate so I don't know what will happen.

Joseph: Yeah, I heard about that. That would be great, too. Three of the best vocalists in metal history.
Arjen: I would like to be involved with it somehow but I don't know.

Joseph: Have you started working on the new Ayreon album yet?
Arjen: No. It's so hard to come up with something new and I don't want to repeat myself. I just bought a new recording system and I am running Ayreon songs through it and making new songs, more ambient songs. Right now, I'm working with a fourteen-year old female vocalist who sings on this new project. She is just so amazing, just a beautiful voice. I couldn't believe it.

Joseph: Is this that new Ambeon project? I heard a soundclip at your website and I could not believe it. She was incredible.
Arjen: Yes, she is on my new Ayreon cd, Ayreonauts Only. A song called "Cold Metal" that will be on the Ambeon album, too.

Joseph: I've heard that song. I couldn't believe she was only fourteen. "Cold Metal" is a bit heavy. You just couldn't help having at least one heavy song on Ambeon, could you?
Arjen: No, I tried but I always end up writing heavy songs. I can't help it, you know

Joseph: That's the great thing about your music. The songs are big, epic and bombastic. In fact, when the Universal Migrator format was first announced, most of the people I know said that were only going to buy the heavier album (Flight of the Migrator). But many fans who bought both thinking that they would enjoy the heavier one more, ended up liking the Dream Sequencer (the softer one) more.
Arjen: That's great that metal fans can appreciate softer music, I think it just says a lot about the Dream Sequencer. I really liked the way that album turned out, you know. I won't do it again, having a soft one and a heavy one as two different albums, but I had to do it this time. I don't want to repeat myself as an artist and it is hard to come up with new ideas. I just had to try it, you know.

Joseph: You did throw in some bombastic moments on the Dream Sequencer so it isn't all soft.
Arjen: Yes, it is mostly soft with some heavy moments like Flight of the Migrator is mostly heavy with some soft moments.

Joseph: I've had a hard time deciding on which of the two albums is my favorite. As far as songs go, "Dawn of a Million Souls" (from the Flight of the Migrator) might be my favorite.
Arjen: Yes, that song came out perfect, I think it is my favorite as well. When I first heard it, I cried. Russell Allen (vocalist from Symphony X) was great. He's just such a great singer. And Michael Romeo (guitarist from Symphony X) was awesome on the solo. I saw Symphony X a few weeks ago, they are just an amazing band.

Joseph: Releasing two different albums with the two Universal Migrator discs, did that work out well rather than releasing a double cd like you did with Into the Electric Castle?
Arjen: Electric Castle worked out perfectly, I just couldn't do another double album so cheap. The reason for releasing the 2 seperate Migrator albums was that the styles were so different and I didn't want to force people to buy both.

Joseph: What has the fan reaction been like to the two cds?
Arjen: Some fans didn't like the idea of two cds it but it was just so hard for me to make Into the Electric Castle. But the Universal Migrator cds have done quite well, I'm happy with it. Into the Electric Castle is still the biggest selling Ayreon album, though. It's the favorite one among Ayreon fans. Actual Fantasy is my my worst selling album.

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Click here to read the review of
Ayreon: The Final Experiment

Joseph: I liked your first cd the most, the Final Experiment. Maybe because it was my first Ayreon album. i like all your albums but that one is my favorite. Maybe because it so epic and bombastic.
Arjen: Yes, it is a heavy album. It is so different from Actual Fantasy, which is softer. But I don't like to repeat myself. I have great respect for bands like AC/DC but I can't do that. I have to do something different with every album. I have to try new things. I mean, AC/DC is doing what they like to do, you know. And they are happy with it and maybe that is all they can do. But I can't do that. I have to progress. This is progressive music, you know. I would just get bored doing one thing.

Joseph: I guess its whatever works for the artist or band. If the your happy doing one thing and it works for you, then keep doing that. If you keep wanting to push yourself and trying new things. You do that, obviously.
Arjen: Yes, and it is very hard. People are always comparing everything to Into the Electric Castle and it is hard, you know. I can't keep making Into the Electric Castle. But it is so hard to do something new, something better. It is really a burden, you know. After Ambeon, I'm thinking about just making a hard rock album.

Joseph: That would be fun. Do you have any vocalists in mind?
Arjen: Yes and I've already talked to three singers. But I don't think I should mention them right now, you know.

Joseph: I don't want to get you in trouble. I think you said something about this at your web site, didn't you? You gave us a hint?
Arjen: Yes, two British singers and an American. But I really shouldn't say anything more just yet.

Joseph: Thanks for your time. Is there anything else you would like to say to your fans?
Arjen: I think progressive music is really starting to do better in America. Bands like Dream Theater have really opened the door for a lot of progressive bands and I think that is just great. The fans are really helping us all become better known. I really appreciate all my fans and I hope that progressive music continues to grow.

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Arjen and Damian Wilson

Nightwish - Oceanborn

Source: Rainbowflame's Metal Domain
Rating: 9.3
By: Torgeir Krokfjord

From the deepest core of the Finnish woods comes the quintet Nightwish who, after the releases of 1997s "Angel Fall First", this album, and last year's "Wishmaster" in addition to some heavy touring with Rage and Valley's Eve plus Sinergy and Eternal Tears of Sorrow, has jumped right to the top of the European Metal scene. This may very well be due to their ability to reach out to very many different sorts of fans - power metallers dig their crunchy riffing and catchy melodies, prog rockers dig their haunting synth layers, black- /dark-/goth metallers might dig their cryptic lyrics and dark moods, and Tarja Turunen's operatic vocals makes the casual music lovers stand the heaviness of the music. This has led to several appearances at the Finnish and German album/single charts and in shows at Finnish national TV, and a very successful gig at last year's Wacken Open Air festival. The press has also been raving quite a lot, especially about their latest opus, "Wishmaster", but to some extent I tend to this agree, as I personally find "Oceanborn" to be their best release. It is definitely the most technical of the three, and IMO it has a sense of spontaneity and joy for which there may be a lack of both in "Wishmaster", which I find to be less inventive/creative and in "Angels Fall First", which, although a nice album, suffers from the usual "debut album defect" - too experimental and nervous. My thoughts on these two albums will be published (oh yes, of course it is the publishing phase that delays my reviews, duh) in a very short (or very long) while. But in the meantime, don't get me wrong, all three Nightwish efforts are absolutely highly enjoyable albums. "Wishmaster" even made it into my top 10 list of last year - tatatatataaaaa!

Although they do not try to hide the fact that they have been sneak-peaking quite a lot of Stratovarius tablatures when composing guitar riffs, Nightwish has managed to create a quite original sound - massive use of keys, crunchy (Strato-like...) six-string riffs and the most heavenly vocals to top it (do not confuse with the vocals of Heavenly, which I find quite dull). Keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, who composes all the music (and also makes for one fifth of the line-up, the rest being vocalist Tarja Turunen, guitarist Emppu Vuorinen, bassist Sami Vänskä and drummer Jukka Nevalainen does also possess an ability of finding "The Good Melody" that very many other songwriters in today's Metal scene lack. (For the theoretically oriented of you, our 47,31 daily viewers, this is often caused by, in for example G minor, incorporating also the G# major chord (thus making it G phrygian, but only for a bar) and moving to this when the vocals sing a C - the major third of the chord. This would be OK if featured during the entire song, or even the entire passage, but as a "passing chord" - in "Stargazers", for example, the rest of the intro/verse is in straight G minor, before modulating to C minor for the chorus) this would be considered "illegal" among theoreticians. Another example on how revolutionary, society-crushing and downright evil Heavy Metal is.)

But that's enough alphabetical widdling for now, let's put those dictionaries away (no, let's not put it away, why not duplicate them in about eight zillion copies and send them to the Italian government so they can hand them out to the country's Power Metal bands along with a Dostojevskij or Steinbeck novel to give them examples of good storylines...). And after that, it's time to move on to the musical contents of our object of analysis - the songs of Nightwish' "Oceanborn".
1. Stargazers -
This is the first Nightwish song I heard (as it is the opening track on my first-bought album of theirs that comes quite naturally, as I am not infected by a quite common fetish that is the "begin playing albums from the last track and forward - especially recommended when dealing with concept albums). It is also one of the best, as it captures everything I felt maybe was missing on the other albums - the mature freshness and enjoyment in playing. The melodylines are among Tuomas' most haunting, and the way the track excels - from the bombastic intro through the mystical verses (chord progression - Gm, G# (!!!), Gm, Eb, Bb, F), the brilliant chorus and ingeniously arranged solo-section, where the themes build up between guitar and keys in a way that most other bands can only dream of. The lyrics are very intricate and "difficult", but they are very well written nonetheless. "Floating upon the quiet hydrogen lakes/In this ambrosial merry-go-round they will gaze/Ephemeral life touched by a billion-year-show/Separating the poet from the woe"

2. Gethsemane -
During the first listens to the album I though this song was among the worst on the disc. This has now changed. Although the opening section is nothing special, a Malmsteen-bridge on a dull half-speed, the rest is much better. The verses are symphonic, mid-paced, and very beautiful, and the part beginning at about 0:54 is pure genius! Atmospheric dream-like vocals and simply gorgeous arrangements definitely makes for good music. The guitar-riff at about 2:18 is nothing special, but the galloping keys/guitar section before has more drive than my 1:18 scale Batmobile. The same goes for the solo-section at about 4:54, and the part beginning at about 4:20. Once again the poetry (I choose to call it that, Tuomas is more of a poet than a mere lyricist) is excellently written. "Forgive me, for I don't know what I gain/Alone in this garden of pain/Enchantment has but one truth/I weep to have what I fear to lose".

3. Devil & the Deep Dark Ocean -
This is maybe Nightwish' hardest moment, and on this track Tarja has to share the vocal duties with some guy called Wilska (who I'm quite sure sings in some semi-famous Finnish Dark/Death Metal band which name I do not remember) who adds a dark-pitched male voice to some parts. This is not in any way like the clean vocals Tuomas himself sang on "Angels Fall First", but a much darker style. It is not by any means "growling", though - give me Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth) or Chris Barnes (Six Feet Under) anytime and I'll show you Death Metal singing the way it should be. The song itself is quite complex, featuring quite aggressive riffing/drumming (both guitarist Emppu and drummer Jukka really get to strut their stuff here), at times kind of "morbid" sounding keys, calmer parts, the most amazing vocal melodies (sung by Tarja, of course) and a tempo and punch to die for. A very diverse song, and when everything's done in the same excellent way, this makes for a true gem. This is also the song on which the cover painting is based, by the way.

4. Sacrament of Wilderness -
After three marvellous songs you'd probably expect a lame one now, right? Well, then you'll have to look somewhere else. "Sacrament of Wilderness" (damned good title, eh?) follows excellently up in the same tradition as it predecessors, although it is maybe a tag more straight-ahead than for example "Devil...". Most of the riffs are pretty standard Heavy Metal rhythm-wise (but nice anyway, and have all of the typical crunchiness found in Mikko Karmila's productions), but some Stratos meets Children of Bodom keyboard parts spice up the soundscape a bit. The chorus-melody, for example, is magnificent, and the German PM-influences here are quite obvious. Lyrically, though, there's not much Gamma Ray in here (read: they do not mention someone who wants to be free), and quotes like: "Dulcet elvenharps from a dryad forest/Accompany all charming tunes/of a sacrament by a campfire/A promise between the tameless/and the one with a tool/Tonight the journey from the cave begins" is Nordic Metal (not the Danish distribution company) at it's best. The song ends with a modulating of the thrilling chorus, and the sparkling of another diamond is fading away.

5. Passion and the Opera... - I guess what Nightwish' music is all about, and it's all to be found in this beauty. Because a beauty it is, and in the ending section (the "bluesy" (kinda) riffing and mid-paced verses before it is not bad either) of this piece Mrs. Turunen really gets to show what she's worth. Accompanied by heavy guitars and drums this is namely nothing but an excerpt from one of the all-time music masterpieces - "The Magic Flute" by W. A. Mozart, which sound nothing but godly, other-worldly, heavenly (see above for disclaimer) etc. etc. (This excerpt is by the way from the aria "Queen of the Night" - which, I just have to make this clear, NOT is a track from the 44th version of the "Absolute Italian Power Metal"-compilation "The Mighty Battle between the f*cking Warriors of the Freezing North and the Bloody f*cking Dregons (note the accent) of the Desert of Immortal Bloodshed". Please note the new and fresh influence from 80s German Thrash Metal in the way the word "f*cking" is used.) "An Aphrodite for mortal souls/Playing hide and seek in lecherous roles/Their erotic hour, my tearless weep/Their satisfaction, my infinite sleep". Need I say more?

6. Swanheart -
This is a ballad, and once again, this is nothing but top-notch. Once again Tarja shines, the light in this twinkling star never seems to fade. The melodies are pure brilliance, and I sometimes catch myself thinking why Tuomas (and Nightwish) really are playing Metal at all. The ballads, no, not only the ballads but I guess all the melodies these/this guy(s) come(s) up with are so tremendously beautiful, that I'm sure they could have reached world stardom and beyond by turning pop. Who needs Celine Dion, Sarah Brightman, and Andrew Lloyd Webber when we have Tarja and Tuomas? But this is NOT a complaint, only a uttering of the outmost fear by a to-the-bone Metal fan who's brutally afraid that one of the genre's top voices shall disappear. If you not agree, why don't you listen to the part from 0:29 to 01:06 on "Swanheart". If you still don't agree after having done that, I'll send you to hell (I guess Piet Sielck from Iron Saviour can show me the way, he's been there, he says.)

7. Moondance -
But every album (at least 99% - "Imaginations..." by BG and "Divine Wings..." by SyX may be the exceptions that determine the law) has it's bad(der) moments, and I'm afraid this also goes for "Oceanborn". This instrumental and it's follow-up "The Riddler" are namely far from as tremendous as the rest of the album. But let's take the first things first and don't be too pessimistic for the future of mankind, because there are definitely some good bits here too (in the end - "bad" for bands like Nightwish does not mean "bad" in terms of "Dawn of Victory" kinda "bad" or something). The intro, for example, is nice. Some gently synth opens the ball, playing a soft melody which is very "Northern" sounding. This theme is then repeated accompanied by guitars and drums, but in that way the gentle melody loses some of its magic. Another beautiful flute/keys part follows, and once again it sounds marvellous. But (without repeating myself), this nice melodywork is ruined when the band enters (no offense, please...). The very "German" sounding (think Bellmann meets Rhapsody meets too much beer) guitars and drums sounds quite out of place here. In tracks like "Black Dragon" of Luca Turilli's solo album it works well, but not after such gentle tones.

8. The Riddler -
This is the most simplistic song on the album, and also the dullest one, in my opinion (Tuomas doesn't like either). The entire piece dwells in a comfortable mid-tempo, with an exception of some quicker double-bass parts towards the end. There are some nice themes and motifs in here, the verses for example, are not bad. "Make me guess if the Earth is flat or round/Set a quessing if fantasies are unbound/If tales aren't just for children to see/That it's peace if sleep walks with me." The lyrics, though are excellent as usual, and they are the definite highlight of the track. "(...) I wish to be touched/Not by the hands of where's and why's/But by the Ocean's minds."

9. The Pharaoh Sails to Orion -
Yes he does, and he couldn't have found himself a better piece of music in which to do it. The diverse influences at display (classical and especially Arabian/Eastern music, for example), show why Nightwish is not your A4 power/speed band and the mystical atmospheres (where Mr. Wilska once again contributes darker vocals) adds even further to this impression. The godsend bombasticisms at 0:49 and brutally ingenious chorus (4:52 and onwards) are among 1999s biggest musical moments, and all in all this is another Nihilisticly (non-existing word, but great for the alliteration) Nightwish Number, and among their best compositions ever. It is this kinda compositions (this is more than a mere song) that makes me feel proud of being a Metalhead (the Word dictionary wanted to change "Metalhead" to "Meathead" but by the strength of the Sword I chose the right one of the two...).

10. Walking In the Air -
I'm not sure whether this is to count as a bonus-track or not (I believe it's not, because I've seen "Oceanborn" with another bonus-track - the unbelievably godlike ballad "Sleeping Sun" in addition to "Walking...") but it's definitely worth owning. What makes this track different from the others is that it's not originally composed by Tuomas. It is namely based on the soundtrack to the Finnish Christmas cartoon "The Snowman", and originally created by an Englishman called Howard Blake. He is obviously an excellent composer, as the theme is very beautiful. The arrangement (done by the entire band, I think) is also very good, as it does only strengthen the already existing melody. This is what I feel may be lacking in "Moondance". It is not instrumental, as one maybe could expect, but in Nightwish' case this is never a bad thing. Tarja's throat makes a sound as beautiful as any pan flute or kazoo (...) in this world, and although the lyrics to this one is not printed in my booklet (it may be in one of the other versions - as I said, I hate one record company licensing their records to a million - or two - other labels) but anyway I just lean back into a state of total pleasure. (This goes only until I realise that I forgot to hit the "repeat all"-button on my CD player...)

Now, this has been a very positive review. (By the way, the reason that almost all my reviews - or all, they're really way too few. I'm lazy. - are almost never negative is basically that I quite seldom buy crappy albums. (OK, I confess, I am the proud owner of one Axel Rudi Pell album.) This is namely a very positive album, too. The songs (maybe with one or two exceptions) are overall very, very strong. The musicians are highly skilled - although especially the guitars get even better on "Wishmaster". The production, courtesy of Mr. Mikko Karmila (suitably entitled "Sound God" in the Stratos' "Infinite Visions" video) is 100% flawless. In other words, this is Metal Heaven.

But to hell with that German drumming...

Ratings and Wrap Up: 9.3
Songs - 9.2,
Performance - 8.9,
Production - 9.8,
Lyrics - 9.4

Hot Spots: "Stargazers", "Swanheart"

"We shall come to set the dolphins free,
We shall wash the darkened bloodred sea
Our songs will echo over the mountains and seas
The eternity will begin once again in peace"

Nightwish - Once

Source: Metal Express Radio


Finland has their Nokia and they have their Finlandia, but apart from those products, Nightwish must be their biggest export article these days ... and a listen to their new and fifth studio effort, Once, leaves no wonder why... although you might be inclined to ask yourself a few questions once you start out with it. Probably the most anticipated release of 2004, the boys (and the girl) refuse to go commercial and kiss everyone's asses. In refusing to do so, they sure don't make it easy - neither for themselves nor for the fans.

Once sees Nightwish expand their sound to the fullest and richest so far. This CD is somehow a logical step for the band (because there is indeed no intention to "sell out" although Once will sell massively), and can easily be described as "more of everything." But, that's just half the truth, because "more of everything" will make you believe that the "White Russian (vodka, coffee liqueur and milk) promoters" have stranded themselves in their own formula. Yes, you can recognize Nightwish once you pop in Once, but this sounds like no other Nightwish record. There's more bombast, there's more orchestration, and there are more guitars as composer Toumas Holopainen obviously wrote more with six strings this time around. There are bigger choirs, and while Rhapsody is in the studio creating their new genre, "Film Score Metal" (and I don't doubt that they have a masterpiece coming...), I am very tempted to say that Nightwish has won by a horseneck, and has already turned to "Film Score Metal" when I hear "Ghost Love Score."

The opener, "Dark Chest Of Wonders," is for sure one of the best songs you'll hear this year; guitars in your face, a huge cosmic sound topped by orchestration and backed by a moving rhythm, and Tarja Turunen enters with a crystal-clear, but somehow fragile, voice that fits and works well for Nightwish. The middle part is thrashy and heavy, and the chorus is pure brilliance. I repeat: pure fucking brilliance!

Next is "Wish I Had An Angel," with a slight techno beat to start, along with more crunchy guitars. Tarja sings the verse, while Marco Hietala breaks rather brutally into choirs - at least brutally compared to the angelic Turunen. This song is indeed a hit, and is believed to be the next single off Once.

The first single however, is "Nemo," the cartoonish chart-climber most of you have heard by now. "Nemo" IS already a hit, with its beautiful piano part, heavy and crunchy guitars (again), bottomed by a bass sound fatter than the Nutty Professor. Tarja's "Oh how I wish..." combined with Toumas' keyboards set you in a dream mode, likely a needed mode in today's world, and the song has a beautiful orchestration part, and a nice and melodic guitar solo by Emppu Vuorinen. Sometimes less is more, and a simple guitar solo sticking to the melody can be just as good - if not better - than the one with lots of showing off. And Emppu flavors the song with just the kind of solo "Nemo" needs.

"Planet Hell," a very bombastic number, shows more of the beauty vs. beast concept, as Marco and Tarja duet the verse, while they both sing the chorus together. Again, hearing Toumas' synth work, there's a cosmic feel to it all.

Now those were the first four tracks on Once, possibly the most "in-ear" songs, though the melody structures demand that you work a little with the CD. You see, from here on, Nightwish becomes even more challenging, and if you dare to say that the band repeats itself, you must be deaf, dumb, or blind - or all of the above. "Creek Mary's Blood" has Native American influences, as none other than the multitalented John Two-Hawks -- a singer, flutist, drummer, guitarist, you name it ... he does it -- was flown in from the Arkansas mountains to Helsinki to perform. He talks Indian (I bet he plays the flute and acoustic drums) and gives a tribe-like feel to one of Nightwish's most ambitious songs to date. The rest of the song, vocally performed by Tarja, is simply a stunning ballad in true Nightwish tradition. Melody-wise, something that could have been featured on the last album, Century Child (how about putting the medicine man on your tour bus in the US?).

"Siren," a true description of Tarja (if you know the legend), is a piece with lots of orchestration. Once has 11 tracks, and if these tracks were balloons in the air, this is one I'm unable to catch and bring down. It's still a little "up there" and drifting, though it has an aura of beauty because of Tarja's singing. Maybe it demands a lot from the listener, or maybe I am demanding too much from the band, but this is one of the songs I have a hard time remembering after playing the CD.

"Dead Gardens" is a rockier composition, and its guitars and attitude kind of set you in the mode for a Marco vocal attack, but it is Tarja who breaks in with a very mellow voice, perhaps more fragile than ever. A little weird, I think, and though there are a few very good vocal lines, this song is another reason why Once doesn't get a full score (and isn't, in my always very humble opinion, Nightwish's best CD this far). The song ends with Emppu going a little nuts, and then fades out ...

A little strange, but "Romanticide" simply follows right from the point were "Dead Gardens" fades out. It has the same guitar sound and vibe, and since Emppu just overdosed on riffing, the opening of "Romanticide" gets a little dull and annoying. The rest of the song, though, is an up. Tarja sings a little stronger (always strong performing-wise, but I don't think it is right to call her singing "powerful" as that term in a way means "with aggression"), and the song has a very operatic approach. Halfway through, the whole track changes radically, much like "Slaying The Dreamer," and Marco and the boys thrash out the last part (thrash, as in "Thrash Metal").

So far, I have raved about the five first songs, but I took a step back for the next three. "Ghost Love Score," a very soundtrack sounding number (like I mentioned), the ten minute epic track of the CD, is again very, very impressive. It shows every beauty aspect of Nightwish; the angelic and operatic singing, the guitar work, the massive choruses, the dramatic and bombastic parts, and the huge orchestration. This is a composition like no other, something only Nightwish (Mister Holopainen) is capable of delivering. I'll have a White Russian to this one!

"Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan" (no, my keyboard is not infected by a virus), sees Tarja sing in her native language - a mellow piece with a huge string arrangement. Not as diverse and rich as the other epic tracks on Once, and this one needs to be received with an open mind. If not, it will cause your mind to be opened anyway ...

Last is "Higher Than Hope," a song that begins nicely with an acoustic guitar before Tarja and the orchestra enter the picture. The choruses are perhaps the biggest on Once; well at least Tarja does her best effort to make them sound huge. Again, you will hear those beautiful vocal lines, and there is, by the way, a speech by a friend of the band, who recently lost the battle against cancer.

Though a little hard to get into at first, you will see this CD run up the charts like Sonic the Hedgehog. Hats off for screwing commercialism, hats off for challenging the youngsters to listen to richer and more orchestrated Metal music ... and hats off for teaching people how milk can best can be enjoyed (sorry for the sidetracking).

2004 belongs to Nightwish - like it or not. To quote a Finnish interview-shy blonde bass player (no, not Marco) -- when asked about his new record, intuitively replied: "I like it!"

Tarja - My Winter Storm

Source: Soundshock

There are certainly signs that Tarja hasn't completely left her experiences with her former band behind, as the gothic undertones of ‘Lost Northern Star' quickly make clear. However, there is a shortage of guitar work throughout the album, with songs such as ‘The Reign' and ‘Our Great Divide' being completely keyboard-driven. Where the real difference lies between this work and that of Nightwish however, is the even larger sense of operatic pompousness that lies at the heart of the record. This is by no means a criticism; it gives the album the aura of musical theatre, with the brief instrumental tracks scattered throughout serving as intervals between each ‘act'.

Aside from a bizarre cover of Alice Cooper's ‘Poison' that you have to replay a few times to make completely sure that you weren't imagining it, the album manages to enthral without offering any huge surprises, as the ‘epic factor' is cranked up to 11 throughout. Many will find this album difficult to enjoy, some will probably hail it as the most bombastic album to be released this year. In the grand scheme of things though, it is an interesting effort from a woman who has a lot more work to do if she is to fully rid herself of her overbearing past.

Review by Merlin Alderslade

Interview with Sonata Arctica 4

Source: Tartarean Desire
19 August 2004

This live interview with Tony Kakko (vocals) and Jani Liimatainen (guitar) of Sonata Arctica was done by Silence and Alexa Kasparek on August 19th, 2004. The photos are copyright of Silence.

Sonata Arctica have been spending much of their early days as a band in the shadows of their countrymates Stratovarius. Having found their own personality they have now become one of the leading bands on the European power metal scene. Our own Alexa Kasparek and Silence sat down to talk to Tony Kakko (vocals) and Jani Liimatainen (guitar) at the Summer Breeze festival in Germany where they performed on August 19th, 2004, about the new album, tours and more. [The Editor]

The new album. It will be released in different versions which seems to be standard. Is it your new label who decided that? Because it's a standard of Nuclear Blast to publish albums in different versions.

Jani: Yeah, it's their idea.

Tony: It's their idea. We're just making the album and...

Jani: They're abusing us... (laughs)

Tony: We're happy about as many possible versions they can make of it. So we have something to fill our shelves.

Jani: It's for our collections, not for yours (laughs).

What's different in Nuclear Blast compared to your previous label?

Jani: Promotion.

Tony: In this scene it's bigger. The metal scene knows of Nuclear Blast.

They also spend more money, is it true? Perhaps like for Nighwish.

Tony: Well of course. They spend a lot on Nightwish for sure and of course we have grown a bigger band and it's more expensive. Everything gets more expensive and they're simply doing more effort.

Jani: We've just discussed with Nuclear Blast yesterday about this and they really love the new album and they want to push it forward. So I hope they spend some money on it.

You've recorded some bonustracks. Which are they and why did you choose them?

Tony: Bonustracks... well, we have one for Japan. It's "Wrecking The Sphere". It's a usual thing, you have to have something for Japan. Then there's this hidden track. It's called "Jam". It's not a real song, it's just something with acoustic guitar and tambourine and shit like that. And also single beat tracks. And well, we recorded a Depeche Mode coversong "World In My Eyes" and a song from Vanishing Point "Two Minds One Soul."

Did you choose them because you like the songs?

Tony: Depeche Mode. Well, Jani and I have always loved Depeche Mode and it was like a cool idea to do something they have done and renew the whole song. To make it sound like Sonata Arctica was quite a challenge for us and I think it's really cool. Once again shocking for fans for sure.

Jani: It was kinda our thing. I don't know if the rest of the band got it. But it worked quite fine.

Tony: The Vanishing Point song. They're really great guys. We toured with them and Gamma Ray and it was some kind of ‘friend-thing' to do, really. Because they're great guys and they deserve more attention. And when we cover it, people might get to know Vanishing Point more. They're coming up with a new album soon. It's recorded already and they're maybe looking for a publisher.

Jani: We're promoting Vanishing Point ;).

Talking about hidden tracks. You've had some tracks like these on your previous albums. Usually spoken words or this gag on Winterheart's Guild. This time it's a whole song?

Tony: Yeah, it's an instrumental kind of thing. Well, some talking involved as well. It's before and after the song.

What about a video clip for the new album or especially for your new single?

Jani: That's a tricky thing. We've talked about this with Nuclear Blast yesterday. We really, really should do it, but we don't know when we have time to do it.

Tony: With Spinefarm we actually have one real video - Wolf & Raven - and we didn't have anything to do with the whole video. The guys who made it, they got the song and they made a script for it and then we just arrived in the scene and they shot us and that was it. So we have the finished video and I think it's pretty okay. And now, suddenly they are talking to me and asking ‘Hey! How's the video going on?' (laughs)

I know the guy who's supposed to make it. He heard the song and said ‘Hey, that's great. Let's make a video.', but I haven't heard of this guy ever since. So, I don't know what kind of thing they're expecting from me. Directing maybe...?

Jani (looks at Tony and laughs): We don't know about the video, yet. Nuclear Blast will have to know it in three weeks if it's gonna happen or not.

Your new song ‘Don't Say A Word' is said to be the sequel of ‘The End Of This Chapter'. In which way and to which extent?

Tony: The sequel or prequel... whatever it is. It's mainly the idea. It's about the same subject: Fucked up relationship that is going towards murder or something like that. The song is taking place in... the song starts with the guy who breaks the window of the house, opens the door and walks in. The whole song happens between the door and the bed where the lady is sleeping unaware of the guy who's there.

Now Henkka (keyboards) was involved in the recording process as well. What was different?

Jani: He had better sounds. (laughs)

Tony: Different kinds of sounds. Better, better and better.

Jani: Better hammond sounds.

Tony: Hm yeah, that's the thing. We got some kind of Rock'n'Roll sound from the keyboards - from Henkka. And we lost some of these atmospheric things which I always used. Henkka rocked it all.

Jani: This morning. (both start laughing)

How did the recordings differ from the previous ones?

Jani: They didn't.

Tony: They really didn't.

Did you have more time this time?

(both laugh)

Tony: Well... actually we did have more time. But it's not the time it's how you use it.

Jani: If we have more time we do things slower. We're a bit lazier. If we have one month I think we can finish the album in one month.

Tony: Actually if we have one month we can finish the album in one week. (laughs)

Jani: Yeah.

Tony: The last week. (still laughing)

Jani: This time we had like 2 ½ months to do it. Something like that.


In the studio diary it says that you [Jani] also wrote a song for the new album.

Jani: Yes! True! (laughs) It's the worst one.

Tony: It's the worst one, yeah. (laughs) No,... it's okay.

How does it differ from your [Tony] songwriting?

Tony: Erm... Jani's song is the only traditional Sonata Arctica song of this album. Maybe... No, not the only one but...

Jani:'s closer to the Ecliptica style. It's more traditional.

What about Takatalvi? Whose idea was it and why aren't there any new songs on it?

Jani: It was Marquee's idea. Our Japanese label.

Tony: It's a re-release of Successor. With extra songs.

Jani: Like Japanese's Successor.

Tony: Successor was pulled out of the market. They don't sell it anymore.

The artwork: How does the new artwork represent the album?

Tony: Reckoning Night... (tries desperately to gesticulate) ...

Jani: Reckoning Night, like Reckoning Day. The moment of truth.

Tony: Sonata guys go seaing! (laughs)

Jani: Sonata goes sailing.

On the Reckoning Night cover there are two wolves again. Do they start to be your mascots now? And is there again a song about wolves?

Tony: Wolves? One song actually.

Jani: One song.

Tony: Yeah, we have to have a wolf song. As always.

You'll support Nightwish on their tour. Whose idea was it?

Tony: Erm... actually the idea came from Nightwish. Because I'm a friend of Tuomas. It's been a kind of dream of us you know. Really cool.

Jani: It's a nice puzzle.

Tony: Yeah, and it's a Finnish band and... woohoo!

Jani: Perfect timing.

Why didn't you plan to do an own headliner tour and not only these additional dates in Germany, France etc.?

Tony: The fact is that... ahem... we play in halls with maybe 500 people and Nightwish plays in halls with... 12000 people. So... hehe, when you get a chance to do that of course you have to do it. We might come to Germany again. You can never know. To play shows on our own.

Jani: But we're really not big enough to headline in Germany. We can easily headline in France or Spain. But Germany is hard for us, for some reason.


Have you thought about touring South America again?

Jani: Oh, South America is great. I love going there. We've only been there once in 2001 I think. Hopefully we go there. I'd like to go everywhere with this album... It's not up to us.

Well, thanks for the interview. Do you have any last words?

Jani (laughs) : I hope they are not the last ones.

Tony (to himself) : Do you have any last words ...?!

(everyone starts laughing)

Interview with Sirenia 3

Source: Tartarean Desire
20 August 2004

This live interview with Morten Veland and Henriette Bordvik of the Norwegian gothic doom metal band Sirenia was done by Melanie Schuh and Matthias Altenhöfer at the Summer Breeze festival in Germany on August 20th, 2004. The live photo is copyright of Silence.

As one of the founders and main song writers of Norway's gothic doom metal pioneers Tristania, Morten Veland would not give up music at all when leaving the band after five years in 2001. His new project was to be called Sirenia. They have now released two full-length albums and a new mini album is on its way for an October release through Napalm Records. The interview was supposed to have been with Morten only but because of some misunderstanding Henriette showed up first which is the reason for this being more like two interviews in one. [The Editor]

How was your trip to Germany?

Henriette: Oh, very good.

You´ll soon release your new MCD called „Sirenian Shores". Are there any big differences between An Elixir For Existence and the new MCD?

Henriette: We were recording it at the same time. There´s some remix stuff on it and we also have a cover song. There is just one real new track.

Is the French choir again performing on the MCD?

Henriette: Yes. They are great!

Some fans asked for the lyrics of the choir part...

Henriette: I tried to get them out of him [Morten], but he´s not posting them at the moment. Maybe, if just enough fans get together, he´ll release them.

What´s your favourite song and why?

Henriette: oh.. heavy.. maybe Meridian ... I don´t know actually. I like heavier music. Actually I don´t listen that much to Gothic metal.

What kind of music do you listen to?

Henriette: A lot of old stuff like Guns´n´Roses and Maiden. But there are also Opeth, Dimmu Borgir and Vintersorg.

What´s the strangest/funniest thing that you ever experienced on tour?

Henriette: (laughs) Oh, you don´t wanna know. Sometimes there are very strange fans (laughs). The best part was our Mexican tour. The audience was amazing - crazy . We also did a European tour with a crazy bus driver who tried to kill us while we were sleeping. Freaky!

What´s the last CD you´ve bought?

Henriette: That must have been „Deliverence" by Opeth.

You´re going on tour again with Atrocity, Leaves´ eyes and Battlelore in November.

Henriette: Our drummer Jonathan is on tour with his other band Trail of Tears at the same time. Actually we don´t know anything yet, but hopefully we can manage to do it somehow.

Do you think that it`s still to early for a live CD?

Henriette: No, I don´t think so. We´re thinking about a DVD and videos, but nothing is cleared so far.

You´ll soon release your new MCD Sirenian Shores? What was the idea behind? How did you come to the title?

Morten: The idea behind everything with the mini-cd was - well, I´ve done two full-length albums with Sirenia - and I wanted to do something different. On the mini-cd you have the title track „Sirenian Shores" which is a typical Sirenia song and you have some other tracks. There is one cover version in there and there is some other special stuff. We wanted to do something different with it. I never talk too much about what I mean with my lyrics and titles because when I write lyrics I want them to be open, so that everyone who is reading them can get his or her own meaning out of the song. So for me it´s meaningless to spend a year to write a good lyric, and then go out and say „I mean this and that". Then just everything falls to pieces.

But it´ll be a mini-cd with 5 songs and it´s gonna be some typical Sirenia stuff in there and a few small surprises. And that´s why I choose to do a mini-cd because if I do a full-length album, it´s typical Sirenia stuff all the way. But for a mini CD there´s always room to do something special.

Where did your inspiration come from?

Morten: Oh it comes from almost everything around me - all kind of things that can have impact on me or make an impression. It can be everything from watching a movie that can give me something or listening to music, things happening around me in my daily life, for example, reading a book, can inspire me to write music.

What do you expect from the fans concerning the MCD because you´ve just said that it`s different from the full-length albums?

Morten: The reactions can be different. But I don´t think that our fans will be disappointed. There are songs which are in typical Sirenia style. There is for instance the cover song that non people will expect - Wow, are they doing this song? But we made it into our own version, so it sounds like Sirenia. It´s some other song that people know from somewhere else.

The French choir is again performing on the MCD. How did you come to the idea to involve these classical elements? Do you listen to classic music in your leisure time?

Morten: A little bit, not so much, actucally. When I´m writing music I always need challenges, otherwise it gets boring. I think it`s interesting to compose choir arrangements, to make up all the different melody lines and the harmonies, to set up some string arrangements - very exciting. I am always very attracted to the melodic side of metal. I want it to be powerful and raw but at the same time it should be very melodic and atmospheric. That´s why I choose to combine all these things. 

On both your full-length albums you have an instrumental song. Will there be one on the MCD?

Morten: Maybe - maybe not...(laughs dirty)

Come on, tell us something!

Morten: I mean on the MCD there are, as I´ve already mentioned, 5 songs. They are all songs with vocals and everything. The last one is a kind of outro, but there are vocals in it as well... So you´ll have to wait and see!

Did you again write all the songs alone?

Morten: Yes.

Can you think of anything else than being a musician?

Morten: (thinks) A pornstar maybe (laughs) For me music is my main interest. It means a lot to me. I really like working with the band, creating new songs. I can´t really imagine a life without music. It would be meaningless for me.

Do you have any advice for young musicians who want to be as successful as you are ?

Morten: The only advice I have is just to do what they think is right for them. Play the music you like, not what anybody else expects you to do! Do your own thing! When you´re doing music you must feel comfortable with what you´re doing. So do it in a way you´re happy with it. Then maybe you´ll get somewhere.

Which song would you like to be played on your funeral?

Morten: (thinks) That´s a difficult one (thinks) I really never thought about that. ...No idea actually...

What´s the last CD you´ve bought?

Morten: It was a Motörhead CD, an old one that was missing in my collection. Most music I listen to nowadays is older kind of music from the 70´s, 80´s, early 90´s. Motörhead has been one of my favourite bands from way back.

Thank you for the interview!

Interview with Epica 3

Source: Tartarean Desire
July 2002

Sahara Dust is a new band from Holland that was formed by former members of prominent gothic metal bands such as Trail Of Tears and After Forever. This interview with the band members Mark Jansen and Ad Sluijter was done through e-mail in July 2002.

Hello, how are you doing?

Ad: I'm doing fine thank you.

First off the boring obvious question, why did you leave After Forever?

Mark: The beginning of the relation within After Forever was for me the beginning of the end. The contacts within the band were becoming colder and colder, I became more and more isolated, though I was the one who put most effort into the band before we got more known. For the rest, I think my story has a lot in common with the one of Morten Veland. I was also basically fired from the band.

Did you form Sahara Dust right when you left or was the band active even before?

Ad: Before Mark left After Forever we were allready writing some music together just as a sideproject besides After Forever. We are both very fond of orchestral filmmusic and I think the music that we were writing could be best described as just that. When Mark was fired from After Forever he immedeatly had plans to form a new band and since we were allready working together it was an obvious choice join forces in this new band. The sideproject has now moved to the background so we can fully concentrate on the new band. Maybe in the future when we'll have some time left we are going to write some music for it again.

I understand that your drummer Iwan Hendrikx has already left the band to be replaced by Dennis Leeflang (ex-Within Temptation), could you tell us a little about this early change of line-up?

Ad: Well we agreed not to wash one's dirty linnen in public, what I can say is that despite the fact that we had written some great music together the collaberation between us and Helena didn't seemed to work. She has now returned to Norway and since Iwan was in love with her he went a long with her. The last few weeks we were very busy auditioning for replacements. Dennis was kind enough to helping us out, he is going to assist us writing the music for the cd we are planning to record in the beginning of next year on which he is also going to do the drumparts and he will also be joining us on a minitour we are planning in the end of this year. As for the auditions for female vocalist I can say that we'll have the band complete in no time :)

Just to check so that I have got everything right, the current line-up consists of Helena Iren Michaelsen, Mark Jansen, Ad Sluijter, Coen Janssen and Dennis Leeflang, am I right?

Ad:Well without Helena then and with bassplayer Yves Huts from Belgium, he is a very talented musician, besides bassguitar he also plays guitar and piano in the Belgium band Axamenta.

The only one of your members that I don't know anything about is the keyboard player Coen Janssen, who is he and what has he done in the past?

Ad: Coen is a very gifted piano player and we are very happy to have him. He has now studied classical piano for two years at the conservatory and next year he is going studie at the pop department of an other conservatory. He also substituted Jack Driessen one gig with After Forever just after he had left the band.

I am a little curious about the band name. Sahara Dust seems appropriate for a band with oriental or arabic influences, why did you choose this name for the band?

Ad: Mark came up with this name and we all thought it was appropriate for the same reason as you allready mentioned :)
How come Helena Iren Michaelsen moved from Norway to Holland?

Ad: The reason she gave us was to that she wanted to sing in a band. A little bit akward since there are a lot of very good bands from Norway.

How did you get in touch with her? If I'm not wrong she had joined some kind of techno band not very long ago?

Ad: Well at that moment she was singing in the band Black Horizon who also has a record deal with Transmission, so when Mark contacted the labelcompany they mentioned her name and we got in touch wich each other. But I wouldn't describe Black Horzion as a techno band, but more as a gothic band.

Was it important for you to have a female vocalist in the band?

Ad: Yes very important, the dynamics between a female vocalist and a grunter / screamer are tremendous especially in music that combines metal and orchestral filmmusic.

Don't take this the wrong way but don't you agree with me that looks sell even in metal today? I mean, the girls still have to be able to sing but I don't doubt that bands like Theatre Of Tragedy, Tristania and others have been given some extra attention because of the beauty and beast theme, not only musically but also visually.

Ad: I would be fooling myself if I say that it wouldn't matter, because it does. Although I don't think that's because of the visual beauty and the best contrast, but more due to the fact that good looks just sell better.

I know that you have already written some material of your own but since I haven't heard any of it yet you will have to tell me what Sahara Dust sounds like? Is the music similar to any of the previous bands you have all been in?

Ad: Mark comes up with most of the ideas for our music, since he had written a lot of the After Forever songs our music will contain a lot of the same aspects as After Forever had.

Have you been in touch with any labels or is it still too early to reach out to the world with your music?

Ad: We will probably sign a record deal with Transmission, Mark has built a good relationship with them and they have a lot of confidence in us.

Holland has become a very strong nation both when it comes to death metal on one hand and gothic / symphonic metal on the other. What are your thoughts on this?

Ad: I think Holland has(had) a lot of very good bands in different metal genres: Gorefest, Ayreon, After Forever, The Gathering, Orphanage to name a few, but there are a lot more.

What do you think of the future of metal in general? Do you think that the enormous diversity of today's metal scene will help make it more mainstream friendly once again?

Ad: Just by looking at the popularity of band like Rammstein, Limp Bizkit, Within Temptaion, System of A Down etc I think it is not awkward to say the metal scene is gaining popularity. Not every genre of course, but in general. My theory is when people like a certain metal band they will easier explore other metbands.

What kind of music do you listen to these days? What are your top five albums ever (does not necessarily have to be metal)?

Ad: I listen to a lot of different music, it just depends on my mood

In no particular order my top 5:
Soundtrack of the movie gladiator(musis written by Hans Zimmer)
Dream theater's Scenes from a memory:
Depeche Mode's Ultra
Meshuggah's destroy erase and improve
Clannad's Lore

What goals and plans do you have for Sahara Dust in the near future?

If there wasn't for the departure of Helena and Iwan we would have recorded a demo last week, the demo has been delayed for a yet unknown time(depends on how fast we have the band compleet again). As for the rest of the plans: We are hoping to do a minitour at the end of this year. We are planning to record the debut cd (accompanied by orchestra and choir) in the beginning of next year and after the release their will follow a clubtour. We are all very excited and can hardly wait!!!!

Any final words to illuminate the lives of our readers?

You should really listen to the soundtrack of gladiator sometimes ;)

Interview with My Dying Bride 3

Source: Tartarean Desire

December 2001

This interview with the guitarist Hamish Glencross of My Dying Bride was done in December 2001. Some of the questions were aimed at Aaaron but Hamish still managed to answer them very well I think.

Hello, how are you doing?

I am doing very well thank you, slightly hungover but it is a rather alcoholic time of year!

Your new album "The Dreadful Hours" was recently released. It seems like you continued to develop the sound that you had on "The Light..."?

I see it very much as a progression further down the path which "The Light" was heading towards. I think the new album has a much deeper, darker and more diverse sound to "The Light". Also, whereas "The Light" was more reflective, "The Dreadful Hours" is more aggressive. It became very apparant during the writing of this new album this was the most natural step for us, but I am sure the next album will be somewhat of a departure from these last two records.

Are you happy with the final result or is there anything you would have liked to change?

We are all still very happy with the final result, the album has been finished for quite some time and I think the "honeymoon period" from the initial elation that the album was finished has ended now and we are still very proud of our work. I enjoy listening to it myself purely for enjoyment. I think that we have taken this particular side of My Dying Bride to it's potential and I look forward to writing the next album which shall be exploring new ground once again.

You have been faithful to your label Peaceville ever since the very beginning of your career. You must be very happy with their work for you?

It has indeed been a long and successful relationship between My Dying Bride and Peaceville, and one that we are happy will continue.

Will you be going on tour soon?

We will not be going on a full tour as such, but we will be playing festivals and a number of shows in as many places as possible. We shall start playing some shows in the Spring of 2002 but we do not have any confirmed details as yet. When we do, they will be on the web-site

How do you like playing live?

I love playing live and I think we perform an excellent live show. Aaron finds it very traumatic performing live, but of course he is the central focus of the live show and is genuinely pained throughout the performance. I love every aspect of touring from visiting different places and meeting new people to the actual performances themselves. One of the greatest things is when we are sharing the bill with bands I like and respect, and can enjoy their performances as well.

Could you please tell us about the lyrics of the album? I noticed that they are still very dark and sad with a lot of religious references.

I think that there are a lot of very stong emotions flowing through this album; there is obviously fear from the outset of the album, followed by rage, then the dreadful pain of loss as an horrific result. There is blind, all-encompassing love and the final sacrifice that can be given in love's name. There are angels and there are devils, and human beings in between being torn apart for their feelings and beliefs. There is insanity, murder and lust and the damning actions of man.

What does "Et gelidus hoc voluntas firmamentum" and "Ego deicere tu pereant" mean?

It means, "The Return of the Beautiful is a great song" and "So we'll re-record it in 10 year's time"... If this was an exam I would probably fail!

Have you studied latin or do you just look up the words and phrases when you write your lyrics?

Aaron draws inspiration from many sources when writing lyrics, but I'm not sure how much Latin he has studied or how much he researched when writing those lyrics. We have a song on the new album called "Le figlie della tempesta" which is Italian for "The daughters of the storm" - that song stands out quite considerably from the the rest of the album in terms of both mood and music, and the title reflects the song perfectly. It was the right language to use in this instance.

Jonny Maudling from Bal-Sagoth contributed with most of the keyboards for the new album, how come Yasmin didn't play all of them?

Yasmin has been playing keys for our live shows for quite some time but she wasn't involved in writing the new album apart from contributing to "A Cruel Taste of Winter" which we were very pleased with. Jonny Maudling had done an excellent job on "The Light" and was the obvious choice for the new album as well. He doesn't rehearse with us at all before entering the studio, he doesn't hear the material before he comes to play on it - he just performs excellently under pressure and we are very pleased with the end results.

You made the cover artwork yourself this time, how long have you been painting?

Aaron has been doing artwork for the band from "The Thrash of Naked Limbs" ep onwards, the only exception to this after then was "Like Gods of the Sun". The cover for "The Dreadful Hours" is a piece of art which was inspired by the moors murders which happened quite near to where we live. Aaron had this picture completed for for quite some time and it suited this album perfectly.

If you weren't in the music business what do you think you would have done with your life?

I used to be an actor and was actually recieving offers for TV roles which I would have continued with if I hadn't given up acting to concentrate my efforts on music. I had started to get some degree of success and is something I may return to at some point in the future.

Do you know what Rick Miah, Bill Law and Calvin Robertshaw have been up to since they left MDB?

Calvin is still very much involved with My Dying Bride and has been our tour manager over the last 2 years. I spoke with Rick a while since and he was playing drums again in a local stoner rock band but I believe he's quit playing drums again since then. I don't think anyone is in contact with Bill Law.

You have been playing for more than ten years now, are there any goals yet to achieve?

Yes, to become rich, bloated rock stars with swimming pools filled with champagne surrounded by gold-plated women. I would also love to do a collaboration with Tori Amos...

Any final words for the fans?

Yes, please pay attention to answer 14 [Editor's note: the previous question] and buy loads of copies of our new album!!! Seriously though, take care of yourselves and those you love and never let ignorance plague your life. I hope to meet you when we play live.

Interview with Nightwish 102

Source: Cursed With Oblivion
12 May 2004

- How would you describe the character and the sound of the new album "Once?"

Tuomas: It's very massive. I mean, very multi-sided in many ways. It's also definitely the hardest album that we've ever done. There's a lot of guitar-riffing. The real hard punch. A lot of the bass-guitar and drums going on there which hasn't been before, on our previous albums. It truly is a hard one, at least on the Nightwish measure. But on the other hand, there's the orchestra, which gives a very special touch to the whole album. Playing in 9 songs out of 11.

- Was "Once" a difficult album to write? Did you have lots of inspiration for the songs?

Tuomas: It was actually the most fun that I've ever had in the songwriting process. It was very hard to make, but the self-confidence was there all the time. The feeling was very good throughout the whole songwriting process. The beginning was very hard. I mean, there was this huge writer's block. I was just trying to create something, and nothing came out. And I was feeling really pissed and frustrated. But then I made a song called "Dead Gardens," which is number 7 on the album, which actually is about this writer's block. So I wrote about it, it broke the ice and later everything went pretty smoothly.

- "Century Child" was not really a concept album, but it had a theme - innocence - which came back in most of the songs. What kind of character do the lyrics have on "Once"?

Tuomas: This is definitely not a thematic album. There's no red line going through all the songs, so what you hear is 11 totally different songs with different stories behind them. They're still about the same things as always before. Like personal things of my own, views, wishes, dreams... About things that interest me. But there's no common theme behind it.

- What are the influences of the other band members on the new compositions? How much did they contribute to the whole writing process this time?

Tuomas: Well, it's pretty much the same as always before. I write 95% of all the music and I also do all the lyrics. But this time there's one song, "Higher Than Hope," the last one, which is almost entirely made by bassplayer Marco. But there are also a couple of riffs made by the guitar player, Emppu. So it's the same thing as always before.

- Tarja sings a bit more mellow on the new songs. Even a bit less operatic than on "Century Child." Was it her own choice? Or did you give her some special directions?

Tuomas: We always discuss these things with the two of us. How she should sing. The most important thing is to just sing what the song requires. For example, there's this bonus track "White Night Fantasy," and I just had this Bjork-ish style of singing in my head all the time, so she did that. I just thought the songs required this kind of singing style this time. But I also thought that since "Century Child" didn't have this classical, operatic style at all, we might bring it back a little with this album. If you listen to the tracks like "Romanticide" or "Dark Chest Of Wonders," there's still a bit of that classical singing left.

- Could you tell us something about the recording process?

Tuomas: We were in the studio for around 6 months altogether. So it was the longest time that we'd ever spent in the studio, in a row. Also using four different studios. The same two as always before - in our own hometown (Caverock, in Kitee, ed.) and Finnvox in Helsinki. But also some of the guitars were made in our guitarplayer's own studio, and all the orchestras and the choirs were recorded in London, at Phoenix Studios. We recorded the orchestra there in two days. So I went there both times. You know, there wasn't much that I could do, because the orchestrations were done, and they were playing so beautifully, so professionally. I was just enjoying the whole moment.

- Do you first have lyrics or music? Or does it differ per song?

Tuomas: It's pretty much always the same. I first have a storyline or have an idea what the song is about. That's the most important thing. Then I just start like painting the music on top of that idea that I have in my head all the time. And when the music for a song is complete, I write the final lyrics.

- What do you prefer: writing songs, recording them or playing them live?

Tuomas: I would go for the songwriting process. That's the thing I really love the most and feel closest to. You know, the feeling when you have the song finished and you realize that you've created something which is really good, which is really beautiful, something new. It really gives you a really big sensation of satisfaction. That's the feeling that I love the most. But on the other hand, when you have a song done, and you get it to record it in the studio, that's really satisfying as well. And especially when you go into a live situation and play it for people who are cheering and being passionate about the whole thing. So I would say, the package of all these three things in the end.

- How do you look back now at the previous albums. Would you have changed anything now?

Tuomas: The thing is that you would change a lot. I mean, you're never satisfied, but still they were the best efforts that we did at that time. So I really stand behind all those songs and all the things that we made on those albums. So I wouldn't change a note, because they just reflect the time the band was back then.

- Nightwish is very popular. In Holland you almost have a cult status. There are many bands here that are really inspired by Nightwish. What do you know about the Dutch metal scene?

Tuomas: I know After Forever very well, because we toured with them on the previous tour. I know Epica, Mark Jansen's new band. And The Gathering, of course. They are a classic already. So these three are the first to come to my mind.

- What bands / artists do you listen to at the moment?

Tuomas: I'm listening a lot to film music. That's the thing I pretty much listen to at home. Different soundtracks, just music from movies. But I'm also trying to follow the metal scene as much as possible. I always get the cds from the record label, and I'm trying to listen to them too. For example the new Entwine, album "Diversity," made a huge impact on me. I like the new Edguy album, which I got a couple of days ago.

- You latest dvd, the documentary "The End Of Innocence," is quite emotional, with deep, personal interviews. Did you intend, before you recorded it, to show so much of yourself , or was it the way it turned out for you?

Tuomas: The whole thing was coincidence, to be honest. I mean what you see on the documentary is me and Jukka, talking to a guy who's writing a book about us. That's why we are so open. We never thought that this would end up being on the dvd, in a visual way. The authour, he brought a cameraman with him, who filmed the whole thing. When I saw the footage and when the record label saw the footage, we thought that this would make a cool documentary, actually. It's all like a souvenir for the band members. I could also imagine it is boring as hell for people who don't know the band. Or who don't like the band. But for the fans, it's something really unique.

- What are still your dreams when it comes to music?

Tuomas: Oh, there are so many of them. Maybe the biggest thing for me would be to write a soundtrack for a film some day. That's one of the biggest dreams I have. With Nightwish I would also like to perform with a real orchestra and a real choir some day. Maybe already in a couple of years or something. And further, just to be able to make better songs on and on.

- Thank you very much for your time. Good luck with everything. Hope to see you in Holland and Belgium soon.

- No problem. Thank you!

Interview with Nightwish 101

Source: Metal-Rules (Heart of Steel)
By Luxi Lahtinen
March 2002

Nightwish´s 4th full-length album titled CENTURY CHILD has reached over 300,000 copies worldwide sales thus far.  Obviously many more albums will be sold, as it should be finally out officially in the United States by now.

I got an opportunity to talk to Tuomas Holopainen in March 2002 about the band´s forthcoming album, and many other things. Lady Fortune seemed to be heavily against me for some obscure reason, because the tape where I got the whole chat with Tuomas recorded, simply disappeared from my sight for many months until I found it by accident. Most of the info in the chat that was between me and Tuomas (and partly with some unexpected guests), is already badly out-dated. Then again, it´s Nightwish, and we do have many regular readers in who are true fans of them and are eager to find out what kind of process it was for the band to get the whole album done. So, call it "reminiscence on the past" or whatever really, but here´s the whole chat in its absolutely uncensored length, and it´s full of interesting points and views spit out exclusively by the true heart, brain and soul of these ´Opera metallers´ Nightwish´, Tuomas Holopainen. Keep on reading as Tuomas enlightens us about being in the burning point of the band, gold/platinum albums, the future´s side projects (For My Pain, Sethian, etc.) and so on. Now, enter Tuomas...

The making of Century Child

Luxi: You guys started recordings for your new album at Finnvox where you actually only recorded the drums for the CENTURY CHILD first; then you continued your recordings in Kitee where you are originally from. After those sessions you returned back to Finnvox where you finished the vocals for the album and as far as I have understand, you are also a half way through the mixing process with Mikko Karmila. Does that sound correct Tuomas?

Tuomas: Yeah, you´re right. We still need to finish the mixing for it, and I guess we´ll get it all done by the end of the week. Like you just said, we are a half way through it already.

Luxi: You also recorded your previous album titled WISHMASTER here in Finland as well. The recordings were done at Caverock Studios and the mixing and mastering were finished at Finnvox again. Did you ever considered recording this new album somewhere else than here in Finland?

Tuomas: To be honest with you, we thought of it less than ten minutes, and then all agreed to record it here again. We just thought that why should we risk anything, cause we do have some great recording studios here in Finland and we are already familiar with them and have found them as very good studios to record your albums there. We kind of wanted to keep everything in our own control and felt totally comfortable to record CENTURY CHILD here in Finland again. 

Luxi: So there was noboby that suggested you record your next album with a different producer?

Tuomas: No, that alternative wasn´t even taken into consideration at all, cause in my opinion, we do have some of the best, most talented and skilled producers and most professional studios in the whole world, so why go outside to catch a fish cause there´s a plenty of them behind your own corner. Actually I can throw you a concrete example what happened to us when we tried to record outside of Finland. If you remember, we had a song called " Sleeping Sun " that was our nominee for the Finnish qualification for the Eurovision Song Contest (Nightwish cleared the first round of the qualification, but the final position was second despite an overwhelming win in the public televoting - ed. note!!) - and which we recorded in London, this unnamed ´mega-producer´ taking care of the production for it and so on. Unfortunately the production for it was kind of ´so-so´ and in my opinion it´s the worst sounding Nightwish -song we have ever done! Therefore we will be counting on both Mikko Karmila and Mika Jussila in the future, too, cause the guys seem to have the best understanding for all that kind of sound we are after for our albums. I think recording studios are pretty much equal these days, so the production in the very end more or less depends on a guy who produces your album, y´know? A producer must have ability and skills to listen to bands how they want their albums to sound like, and of course he must know all the equipment in a studio environment 100% and how to use them properly to get the very best out of them for a recording.

The darker realms of Century Child...

Luxi: Could you explain us how this new album CENTURY CHILD will be different from your previous album, WISHMASTER? Are there any radical changes there on this new album?

Tuomas: First off, I want to point out that it´s going to sound 100% Nightwish, so our fans don´t have to be worried about that. But on the other hand, we have used some new elements there on this new album as well that weren´t on our previous album WISHMASTER. It´s gonna include more of these "soundtrack" elements than ever before, I think. We have always had some soundtrack influences in our music, but now there´s just even more. I also wanna point out that it´s our heaviest album so far. Since the very beginning we thought that we should get both a guitar and a bass sound more in the forefront. Also now when we also have Marco Hietala (of Tarot -fame!) doing some vocal parts for this album, it will definitely add more heaviness into the whole thing. Also my lyrics have a bit darker vibe in them as well than before. I deal with more hopeless and darker topics this time around; in fact, the album´s atmosphere is quite dark and oppressive indeed, in my opinion. 

Luxi:  When you started working with the lyrics for this album, did you actually have some sort of a concept in your mind that you might use for CENTURY CHILD?

Tuomas: Well, to tell you the truth, all my lyrics kind of reflect my own life. All those experiences I have gained through my life one way or the other. On CENTURY CHILD, I basically reached my own extremity by my lyrics. In fact, the lyrics reflect my life within the past year. All those negative thoughts that I have dealt in my mind and so on. I haven´t been this pissed-off ever, and it really shows in my lyrics. I can tell. The on-going year has been rough, and tough time in my personal life, and it´s no wonder at all if I have put some of those negative feelings into the lyrics of CENTURY CHILD. To write lyrics is a channel to vent my innermost feelings on this new album for me.

Luxi: How tough (or easy?) was it for you to write some ideal lyrics for some certain songs on CENTURY CHILD? I mean, if you have a rather heavy yet aggressive sounding song, I guess it also needs aggressive enough lyrics in order to  - get the message straight - if you know what I mean...

Tuomas: Yeah, I know what you are saying. Writing lyrics has always been a hard task for me - and probably will always be that as well. It wasn´t any easier this time around either. In fact, I needed to soften some parts in my lyrics, cause I cannot use too extreme phrases for the lyrics of Nightwish. There just needs to be a certain limit how far I can go with my lyrical approach cause our music is indeed far from being extreme, if you know what I mean. I did sow my hatred and gave vent to my temper enough on them already, I think. That´s how I felt when I was writing all those lyrics for it.

Me being a megalomaniac... how come?!

Luxi: Also, you have added more strings into this particular album this time around...

Tuomas: Yeah, very true. In fact, Joensuu City Orchestra was fully involved in five songs on this new album -meaning, there were 32 musicians in that orchestra who took part for the 5 songs on CENTURY CHILD. We wanted to have more of this soundtrack approach for our album and I personally am very happy with their contribution on this new album. The cold fact however is that nowadays it´s possible to create 95% by using a synthesizer only for creating the same thing that a whole orchestra could be capable of doing. I know that´s the fact. But instead of using synthesizer too much, I rather wanted to get a whole orchestra for this album than create the same thing with my synths only. I guess I have this ´bad´ tendency to be a bit megalomaniac person, he-he!! I have always thought that riding by a moped is funny, but if you can do it by Harley, then that´s even better, if you know what I mean. I really am damn pleased that we hired the full-orchestra for CENTURY CHILD, even if I need to admit honestly that I was a bit skeptical at some point how it all would eventually turn out for the album. In my opinion, the whole orchestra played just fine and I´m really thankful for all the musicians of Joensuu City Orchestra for their absolutely great contribution on CENTURY CHILD. Then we used a choir called "Tuomas" that contained 35 members in it and they did some background choirs for a couple of songs on our album. Have you heard of them before, by the way? 

Luxi:  No, I haven´t... shame on me!

Tuomas: Never mind then. But anyway there are many new things used on CENTURY CHILD that we haven´t tried out before on our previous albums. All the ideas that I was originally thinking to use for CENTURY CHILD didn't seem to be enough for me. I went one step at a time - then another step - and so on and so on, when realizing that there´s a great chance for all that I might lose the control over things if I didn´t stop early enough. But I guess I did and I have to admit that everything on CENTURY CHILD sounds somewhat ´big´ as we have a narrator, a real choir, split vocal parts both from Tarja and Marko, real percussion, a whole symphony orchestra - on the album.

Luxi: But I assume that orchestra was hired for the recordings mainly to create this soundtrack feeling for the whole album. Is that correct?

Tuomas: Yeah, I agree with you. I thought it would be great to get them for CENTURY CHILD in order to achieve this more ´soundtrack´ feeling all over the album - more pompous atmospheres and all that, ya know? Like I said before, I´m very pleased with what they did in some of the songs on CENTURY CHILD.

Luxi: Was it kind of hard to start this song creation process for this new album? Because of an undeniable fact your previous album could be considered as some sort of a cornerstone of Nightwish´s career as it´s the highest selling Nightwish album thus far. It basically got lots of extremely good reactions everywhere, not to mention it was a huge success for you as a whole band, too. As we know by now, people always have rather high expectations towards some certain bands follow-up releases.

Tuomas: Definitely some sort of a pressure was haunting there behind my back all the time after the success of our previous album WISHMASTER. That was haunting somewhere in the depths of my mind all the time, however I knew somehow that I could beat WISHMASTER content-wise and make even a better album. I just had to think that I need to do better, catchier and greater songs than we had on WISHMASTER. That was the only way to think for me really. You always try to push yourself towards even better and better things constantly and that´s exactly what I did with the songs for our new album, I guess. I can deny that fact either that sometimes I found myself thinking alone how our fans might react when hearing our new songs off CENTURY CHILD cause these new songs will be a bit different compared to the songs on WISHMASTER. Heavier and stronger, I could say. When you write and compose new material, of course the main priority is to do it for youself first and get pleased by it. You cannot think too much what your fans might think of your new stuff, cause in my opinion that´s always a secondary thing. If they like it, then that´s fine. But if they don´t, well, it´s not my headache a bit, let it be then.

Luxi: When you started recording CENTURY CHILD, did you have a clear vision in which order you would record all the instruments for the album, and when the mixing should be done at the latest?

Tuomas: Yeah, we had some sort of a timetable for all that when and where we would record all the instruments, etc. for this album, in fact right from the beginning. But like I mentioned to you earlier, things started to get ´a bit bigger´ at some point than I originally expected. The whole recording almost blew out of our hands as the orchestra, the choir, solos, etc. took its own time to record them all for the album. At some point I felt like this is not going to end. I admit it was a damn long process to get it all done, and it was a heavy recording process for myself personally, too. I was rather exhausted from time to time, but I promise the result was very much worth of all our efforts.

Luxi: So, exactly how much time did the entire recording take?

Tuomas: We started recording it 11th of January and we still have two more weeks to go (note that this interview was done around March 2002). We haven´t spent all that time at the studio only, but have however still been working with the album all this time, though.

Luxi: Like you said before, you took a couple of bigger steps forward with your kind of ´megalomaniac´ ideas for CENTURY CHILD by hiring both the full orchestra and the choir for the album. Did it ever cross your mind that you might slip away too far from the original idea or concept of CENTURY CHILD? 

Tuomas: Well, that didn´t really happen to us at all. Ya know, we are all very ambitious musicians by our nature and like a bunch of real perfectionists. We wanted to have a very ´big sounding´ album right from the very start, with pompous and epic-like atmospheres, ya know. I wanted CENTURY CHILD to be like the biggest sounding, very variable Heavy Metal soundtrack album. That was my personal goal since the very beginning - no less than that. If you listen to our song called "Wishmaster" off the previous Nightwish album WISHMASTER, that song worked out kind of like as a good stepping stone for me for CENTURY CHILD. I wanted to get the same type of epic sounding thing for this new album as that particular song had. That was the part of the reason why we took both the whole orchestra and the choir in for the recordings of CENTURY CHILD. I wanted it to sound like ´a very ultimate thing´, so we just kept pushing ourselves constantly towards that goal and I believe we achieved it as well. It was the main idea for all of us in the very beginning - I can confess it now.

Luxi: Are you saying that you wanted every song for this album to reach that level musically that has a word ´epic´ written all over it?

Tuomas: Well, yes and no. One of those things I wanted to concentrate on the making of this album is the fact I wanted it to have variation song-wise. I mean, a general sound for the whole album sounds very ´big´ and somewhat rather pompous, but the songs are still quite different compared to each other. We do have both quite lengthy, epic songs on CENTURY CHILD, but also some more aggressive and heavier elements can be found out of some songs as well - not to forget that we will include a ballad song for it, too. So, it´s gonna be our most variable album thus far without a doubt. In fact, it´s very dynamic album after all and I´m really happy about it as a whole.

Luxi: Talking about Nightwish´s song writing process just a little bit more: As it´s a written rule already, it´s been basically you who has written both the music and lyrics for Nightwish on your previous releases.

Tuomas: More or less, yes...

Luxi: ... and as I assume, that fact hasn´t been changed on CENTURY CHILD?

Tuomas: No, I have written everything for it; both the music and the lyrics again. Except there´s one ´epic´-like song on CENTURY CHILD for where Marco Hietala did the first part of the song. He actually had all the frameworks done for it and as it sounded so great, we decided to use it for that particular song the way as it was originally. Otherwise, I have done the rest of the material by myself from start to finish - as well as both music - and lyric-wise. Also we will do one cover song for CENTURY CHILD; it´s A Lloyd Webber´s and T.Rice´s "The Phantom of the Opera" and it´s gonna sound really majestic.

Winds of change on the horizon... 

Luxi: You went through some drawbacks in the Autumn 2001 when your previous bass player announced that he´s quitting Nightwish due to some personal matters. And Marko Hietala (that Tarot -fame mostly!) entered in and took Sami´s place with a pride and a burning ambition. Was he the only alternative to master 4-stringer in the Nightwish´s troops then,  or did you check a bunch of other talented candidates out for this purpose as well?

Tuomas: For me personally he was basically the only thinkable alternative to replace Sami because I expressly wanted to include some male voice for our next album in order to get some contrasts to Tarja´s voice. I thought myself that the best alternative for us could be a guy who´s an experienced musician in a band already; also for doing gigs with us. And to hire some guy for this slot only for helping us out with gigs, was out of question since at the earliest stage of my thoughts. And as I have always considered Marko as the best Heavy Metal vocalist as well as bassist in Finland, I wishfully asked  if would he be interested in taking that vacancy in Nightwish permanently. He gave me his answer the way I was hoping for - and now he´s our permanent vocalist / bassist in the band.

Luxi: So, you weren´t scared of his involvements with his other bands, such as Sinergy, Tarot, Metal Gods (a cover band), that may eat some of his time off Nightwish?

Tuomas: No, because I told him that Nightwish could be his main priority after that and he should agree with it, too. I told him that I would understand if he said ´No thanks...´ to Nightwish because we only were after for a guy who could dedicate all his time for Nightwish only. There were no compromises at all. Of course I became thrilled when he agreed to become a full-time member for our band.

Luxi: Also, I honestly think that you just couldn´t have chosen any better, knowing how talented both a songwriter - AND a lyric writer Marko is. I remember him being a big fan of sci-fi / fantasy literature where he got some killer ideas for Tarot´s lyrics from. His voice is beyond words - really...

Tuomas: I just couldn´t agree more with you. Marko is simply an amazing songwriter, vocalist, bassist and all that. As we were talking about his skills for the future efforts of Nightwish, of course I´m open for his ideas if he will be willing to contribute our song writing for Nightwish in the future. I bet when we lay all our ideas on the table concerning our next album with Marko in the line-up, it´s more than obvious that there will be his mark in our future material for sure. However, I consider myself such a tyrant bastard that it´s going to be me only in the very end that will decide what songs will be chosen for our albums and so forth as I´ve always been the main songwriter for the band, but I´m quite positive that Marko´s suggestions for Nightwish will be more than useful. I´m actually very positive about that already. I do connect with him every possible level very well as I consider both of us kind of perfectionists as far as the song writing generally is concerned. In other words, I assume there shouldn´t appear any problems between two of us at all - obviously time will tell for sure!

Marko Hietala (by the words of Tuomas Holopainen)

Luxi: Let´s continue talking about him a little bit more. It´s a written rule that many (metal) people consider him as some sort of ´a metal icon´ - a true face for the Finnish Heavy Metal scene. Mainly because of his long running band Tarot - and overall his incredible use of voice and great song writing skills. Now when you have got to know him better as I assume, could you say what are his best qualities both as a member of the Nightwish troops as well as a friend?

Tuomas: Well, first off I must say that he´s one of the easiest working guys on the face of the earth - Really! Everyone just comes along with him greatly. You can actually talk to him just about anything. He has lots of great ideas as far as music is concerned and he´s just so professional musician than I can only admire him what he is and what he has done in the past. He´s both a fantastic vocalist and an amazing bassist and I´m glad we have him now in Nightwish.

Luxi: Besides, he´s a great ´show man´ who knows how to entertain his audience...

Tuomas: Yeah, I definitely agree with you!! The guy looks just impressive onstage - especially when he decides to headbang during a gig. It seems like he covers the whole stage by his long hair, -ha! Besides, he´s verbally a very talented guy, so we´ll probably take some advantage of that when start doing gigs again, that´s for sure.

"Only innocence can save the world..."

Luxi: CENTURY CHILD will be containing such songs as "End of All Hope", "Slaying the Dreamer", Beauty and the Beast", "Ocean Soul". Would you kindly shed some light on the songs on the album?

Tuomas: Sure... CENTURY CHILD will be some kind of a theme album - NOT a concept album, but every song itself contains a concept of its very own. For me, Nightwish´s lyrics are like a diary of my own life; what has happened in my life within a certain period of my life. The last years of my life have been, without exaggerating a bit, the toughest time in my life - full of very negative feelings that have made me pissed off. I have felt like everything has been against me one way or the other as odd and strange as it may sound like to your ears now. In fact, I have felt more than occasionally a growing, little chaos inside my head; a bad self-esteem is tormenting me - and blah blah blah... All the songs on CENTURY CHILD are results of my negative vibes that were caused by the things I just explained you just recently. You kind of start to hate yourself because of what you have become, ya know? The innocence is gone - and in fact talking about the innocence a bit closer - it´s actually the main thing that connects the songs on our new album. We will indeed have a motto in the center sleeve of CENTURY CHILD that has a sentence that goes like this: "Only innocence can save the world...". That´s the main theme on CENTURY CHILD and every song on the album more or less refers to that topic. A song called "End of All Hope" is a good example of losing your innocence. When you lose your innocence and honesty, then you basically lose everything. You are nothing after that. That´s what that particular song tries to tell.

Luxi: That´s interesting... I was just starting to wonder now when CENTURY CHILD will hit the stores. Do you believe that some of the fans may get rather surprised by a slightly heavier musical approach and darker lyrics?

Tuomas: Yeah, that´s quite possible as a matter of speaking. I cannot help it if they may feel that way cause it´s a quite different album both lyrically and musically than our previous releases. Marko´s vocal parts make a big difference compared to our previous offerings. I also have to say that when I compose songs for this band, I always try to stay loyal and honest for myself; trying to please myself first and foremost - and not trying to think too much what our fans might hear from us. I don´t follow with that close eye at all what´s going on in today´s metal scene or what´s ´in´ or ´out´ these days or anything like that. Nightwish represents innocence for me in that sense. All the songs that I do for this band, mean a world to me.

Luxi: Was it easier to come up with the songs for CENTURY CHILD compared to your other creations for your previous albums? Or was it just all the same agony of creation with this album as well?

Tuomas: It´s always hard to be 100% satisfied with your own songs if you have this tendency to be a perfectionist what I truly am myself. I cannot say it could have been any easier this time around either. It´s always damn hard to please yourself 100%, ya know? To write new material is very time-consuming, and so it was with the material for this album as well. And all the songs on CENTURY CHILD were as hard to make. I cannot think of any song at the moment that could have been easier to make than the rest of the songs.

Back to school...

Luxi: Lets get some facts straight. There´s been some talk in different medias that after you have toured for this album, you need to take a year break due to Tarja´s studies in Germany. Well, the following that I´m about to say is just speculating and nothing else, but what would happen to Nightwish if Tarja announced after the forthcoming break that she is done with Nightwish and her final decision is her opera career? Would that mean that Nightwish has traveled to the end of the road and will now cease to exist?

Tuomas: Luckily I don´t have to think that far into the future at the moment... yet! But anyway, our decision to have this year or so break off Nightwish was decided because of Tarja. Everybody of us understood that she needs to concentrate on her studies in order to finish them some day. Let´s face it: We have been together more than 5 years now, done 4 full-length albums within that time, a great bunch of singles, so in the other words, we have really been a very productive band during all this time. So, I think everyone of us really deserve to have this break. It´s actually a welcomed thing in our life and hopefully shouldn´t be any affect our doings in Nightwish in the future. I also need to say in the very same breath that none of us are exhausted at all; on the contrary, we are full of energy and having a burning desire to get back on the road again, but it´s only reasonable for everyone of us that Tarja finishes her studies first and then we´ll look further into the future again and let things evolve step by step concerning Nightwish. It´s a rather pointless to say more before some concrete things will happen, ya know?

Crazy fans make life worthwhile...

Luxi: Where do you think the most devoted, die-hard Nightwish fans are coming from these days? You have been touring the world a lot lately (especially for the WISHMASTER album!), so what countries particularly have stuck in your mind with the craziest fans, the wildest venues and stuff like that?

Tuomas: Hmm... this is a bit tough to answer cause almost every country where we have played so far, has had many great Nightwish fans and the supports from them has totally been overwhelming. But what has especially offered us some extraordinary good memories, then in that case I have to mention the South American countries. Those countries have probably the craziest Nightwish fans in the whole world!! When we were touring there for our WISHMASTER album, at some point I started wondering do they think that The Beatles have arrived in town, he-he!! It was just incredible to play in those countries. Seems like we indeed are a damn popular band over there and that of course feels fuckin´ great!! Now I´m only thinking whether things will get even crazier for us when we will tour there again for CENTURY CHILD. Time will certainly tell...

Luxi: I can imagine how it was like: Wherever you went to, wherever you stayed at or wherever you played at, the most devoted Nightwish fans had already been waiting for you guys for hours there. Was it all like this in those South American countries?

Tuomas: As crazy as it may sound like, but that´s exactly what happened. Even some of our fans were waiting for us outside of our hotel all through the night that I couldn't understand from my own point of view. And when we arrived from our gig back to the hotel, they were already there waiting for us and all that felt really amazing and strange for us at the very same time, too. Heh, I even remember some of them running behind our bus wherever we headed our way to. It´s really absurd and totally crazy, I can tell. Those countries (i.e. Brazil, Chile and Argentina) over that part of the planet have the greatest fans in my opinion according to our experiences with them. We may be more popular in such countries as Germany and Finland, but in the South American countries they really show their innermost feelings the strongest way towards their ´idols´ if such a word is allowed to use.

From a hobby to a seriously touring band...

Luxi: I was just pondering when you decided to form Nightwish in 1996, did you ever dream of an enormous success like this that you have gained for the band thus far?

Tuomas: Not at all!! I bet every artist would answer the same way to your question for sure. I formed Nightwish as some kind of ´hobby´ thing. At that time, I was studying at a university. My main goal was to gain some sort of an academic career and a boring life for myself. But then out of my little ´hobby´ called Nightwish grew up something extraordinary ´big´ of which I never dreamt about in the very beginning when I started the band. I honestly have to admit that I´m still having some hard times to understand all that success and fame that we have achieved by this band thus far. In fact, I don´t consider Nightwish as that big metal act yet. Our music is actually far from being mainstream stuff cause there are not too many bands that sound like us. It really makes me wonder sometimes that there is an enormous bunch of people in the whole world that like what we do and buy our albums. But maybe time has come to me and I should accept the reality how is it for us nowadays. All this success feels great, of course!!

Luxi: It goes without saying that a major part of the success you have achieved with Nightwish thus far, was to create so-called ´a winner´s recipe´ for the two important elements where Nightwish is based on: metal and Tarja´s opera singing. It´s a very unique and original combination and truly offered people something new and quite unheard at that time when ANGELS FALL FIRST hit the markets.

Tuomas: Yeah, I can only agree with you again. People who get fed up with one certain genre of music, normally move on and look further whether something ´interesting´ or ´unique´ could be somewhere in the horizon. I bet everybody who gets a chance to hear us, will probably get something stuck in their minds out of our music because we obviously have kind of an unique sound - like it or not. In our case, it could be said that people have created some sort of phenomenon around Nightwish and I consider that as a really cool thing for us, of course!!

Luxi: When did you exactly start believing that Nightwish could really grow up being something rather ´big´ some day?

Tuomas: I guess when seeing some of our singles in top 30 charts here in Finland made me believe that we were actually doing quite damn well at least in out own home country, but also after we did some of our first gigs, cause then you realize that people actually pay in order to get a chance to see you playing live. And I started believing in this band even more when I got to find out that our single was even listed in Germany´s top charts lists as well. It felt really great as seemingly all of our efforts for this band really started to pay off at that time. It´s just natural that you kind of start thinking quietly in your mind how you could make even a bigger impact on a bit larger audience; then sell more albums, get more gigs and basically get your name known in each and every country. Your hunger sort of becomes bottomless, ya know? These kind of thoughts, in fact, appeared in me somewhere between the ANGELS FALL FIRST and OCEANBORN albums.

Luxi: What kind of achievements do you rate highest as your personal favorites?

Tuomas: I guess the most memorable thing for me with Nightwish has been our gig in Tampere, Finland so far which we did two years ago - and which was filmed and came out as a DVD titled FROM WISHES TO ETERNITY. Particularly that very moment when we all knew that it went just great and our label manager Ewo Rytkönen from Spinefarm Records brought us platinum albums (for the WISHMASTER album!) to the stage. I think that´s one of those very memorable and special moments for all of us in the band that we have achieved with Nightwish thus far. I have to admit some of us had tiny tears in our eyes because it was indeed kind of a ´touching moment´, ya know? It was overall just an indescribable feeling. On the other hand, it feels great that you are actually able to play gigs far away from Finland - like we just did in the South America. Even a thought of it was beyond any words for me when this opportunity was offered to us for the very first time. Like we did this one gig in Panama. It was totally unbelievable for us - like an ultimate thing to do really. By doing gigs is an excellent way to see the world, too. It´s one of the highlights as far as touring itself is concerned. The more obscure places we are able to play gigs, the better, of course!!

Luxi: You haven´t played in Japan yet, but have you already been offered a chance to play there?

Tuomas: Yeah, we were offered a chance for it, but our schedule was already so tight at that time, so those gigs were forced to cancel.

Luxi: Now when the new album CENTURY CHILD will hit the markets, do you believe that it´s gonna be that kind of a ´step´ for you to get Nightwish placed to the same league with such bands as Manowar, Rage, and W.A.S.P?

Tuomas: I have to say that luckily I haven´t thought that too much and have managed to keep my thoughts somewhat chilly regarding that matter. While you have a new album in the works, you cannot think that kind of things too much cause it may easily ruin and fuck up your own concentration and focus from the main thing totally. Now when we have recorded everything and the mixing is done, I still haven´t given a thought for it at all. But of course you except that you could even top your previous album both content - and sales-wise and that´s exactly what we have done - sold more albums with each new album we have put out, gained more success and fame for ourselves and matured a couple of steps forward as a band as well. Also, I need to admit that it would be disappointing if CENTURY CHILD didn´t do as well as our previous album WISHMASTER. At least I know I´d be disappointed. I honestly believe that we do have every chance to reach a next level with CENTURY CHILD according to all those wishful signs we have had with our previous releases. OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY has been 44 weeks in a row in the Finnish single charts that is absolutely amazing in my opinion. Therefore I strongly believe that CENTURY CHILD may well be a very potential breakthrough album for us that will make us recognized even better and largely in the world map. You also need to be a bit ´lucky´ in this business because as we have already seen many times, even if you make a good album, it´s not always enough if you don´t get the right channels to promote it, ya know?

Luxi: While you are in the middle of the song writing process and possibly play your songs probably hundreds of times in order to get them right, I guess you kind of become somewhat ´blind´ for judging your own songs whether they are 100% perfect or not. So it´s better and pretty much wiser to leave all the judgment for listeners at that point, cause they are the ones who will make it eventually anyway, right?

Tuomas: Exactly!!! Right at the very moment we do have like 5-6 songs mixed completely and I have to say I cannot decide whether I´m satisfied with any of them or not. But now when a group of people has already heard them, at least it´s a big relief to me personally to hear that at least they have liked the songs very much. You kind of lose a healthy perspective towards your own material at some point if you get a break out of it all for a while, ya know?

Luxi: Apparently a length of the songs on CENTURY CHILD varies rather radically between the songs. Is there going to be any so-called ´epic songs´ on this new album that reach the length somewhere between 8-10 minutes - or even more lengthy songs than this?

Tuomas: There´s gonna be one song that is long as hell. It´s called "The Beauty and the Beast" which is also going to be the closer tune on CENTURY CHILD and lasts over 10-minutes. The shortest songs will last something like 3-4 minutes. It´s hard to make a ´fool-proof hit song´ that could last less than 4-minutes. I haven´t been capable of making it so far, he-he!!

Going to solo projects...

Luxi: Then let´s go a little bit backwards in the interview and continue with one of my previous questions. We just talked about this a year break off Nightwish, and I was pondering in my mind whether you consider to contribute any project bands while all of you will be taking some time off Nightwish?

Tuomas: Marko Hietala indeed has some sort of a solo thing going on, but I don´t know much about it at all. As for the rest of us, we have some solo projects going on at the moment. Emppu, our guitarist, has some Rock-orientated band and they even do some club gigs every now and then. I have For My Pain where I play synths just like I do in Nightwish. I, in fact, have had this solo thing in my mind for many years already, but don´t know yet when I can do some recordings with this band.

Luxi: You had the Joensuu City Orchestra and Tuomas choir contributing on CENTURY CHILD. Have you ever been thinking of using both of them when doing shows with Nightwish? I mean, it would kinda special to play a show or some shows if you got a full orchestra and a choir behind you, giving something very special for your fans just like bands like Metallica, Therion and Rage have all been doing almost recently?

Tuomas: Of course it´s been haunting somewhere in the back of my mind all the time. It would be really great to do so, but then you somehow start to think it more carefully and realize that it demanded so much effort from you to make it happen some day. Naturally you start to ponder how the whole orchestra would work out if you played an open air show; or what the Tuomas choir would sound like if they played with us at some gigs? It would be a hell of a lot work to organize something like that for sure. Like you said, Therion, Rage, etc. have all done it before and even rather successfully, too, so it ain´t any new thing anymore. If I got a chance to do something like that some day, I would rather prefer to do it at some concert hall because of acoustics. It would be much easier to control the sound and make it all sound at least decent for the audience, ya know?

Luxi: Then you hired Ewo, that successful label manager of Spinefarm Records, for the manager of the band. What were the reasons you picked him?

Tuomas: Well, we hired him at the same time when we were looking for a new bassist for our band; it was last autumn, I think. It was sort of ´1+1=2 solution´ for us as I was going through pretty hard times in the fall of 2001, cause I worked my ass off for this band, composing and writing lots of music and such things for Nightwish. I also did take care of many other things as well. It was a tough time and I was close to lose my sanity for all of that. So, I started talking to Ewo about it and he suggested me that it would be wise to have an official management and booking agency, and King Foo Entertainment ( was formed in the beginning of 2002 because of that. Now Ewo is taking care of booking us to gigs both nationally and internationally, so contact him from now on if you wanna see Nightwish playing in your area.

Luxi: So you didn´t have any tour manager before Ewo?

Tuomas: Nope. We were probably the only band of this size here in Finland at that time that didn´t have a manager of its very own before. Our drummer Jukka and me were the ones who took care of all the practical matters concerning Nightwish. And it wasn´t easy at all cause it basically started to kill our interest towards the band, so by having Ewo to take care of these things instead of us, was really the best possible solution for all of us, definitely!

Luxi: I guess you must have felt that like 24 hours in a day was not enough to take care of all things for Nightwish?

Tuomas: Yeah, you are pretty much right about that. My main priority is anyway to write as good songs for this band as possible, but as I had to put lots of my time and effort to all these other ´shitty´ things that are not related to song writing and such things at all, it really started to be kind of burden to me, killing off some of my inspiration for the main thing, ya know? We should have hired Ewo much earlier to take care of this kind of thing. It was our own fault that we didn´t act any earlier.

The Finnish metal scene: Still getting bigger and stronger...

Luxi: As we both have obviously been keeping our ears open for the Finnish metal scene for some years already, we cannot help admire how many great and internationally known bands are coming from our country these days. Bands like Amorphis, Sentenced, Nightwish, Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius, Waltari, Impaled Nazarene, Children of Bodom amongst many other bands, have really established their names all around the world. They have been selling a decent amount of albums in many countries and have gotten a chance to tour the world like any other so-called ´big´ metal band. Can you explain the success of some these Finnish metal bands, and why they have managed to establish themselves amongst countless of other metal bands in today´s metal circuits?

Tuomas: Huh, that was a tough question. But like you said yourself, we have always had lots of great, many talented musicians in many Finnish metal bands. What is very unique also in the Finnish metal bands, they pretty much sound different from each other without any exceptions. You can hardly find any Finnish metal band that is a straight copycat from some other Finnish metal band. That´s at least very rare in my opinion. If you think of Nightwish, there´s no other band that sounds like us, so what we do with Nightwish is new and unique both here in Finland and abroad as well. Or if you listen to Children of Bodom, they started a whole new thing here in Finland musically, too. Or take for example, Amorphis, who are very original and unique globally with their imago based on our national epos "Kalevala". I could give you a pocketful of same kind of examples about all these Finnish metal bands that have always been having their very own thing going on. Both Waltari and Apocalyptica (metal with cellos!) have their very own thing. Finntroll is an extremely unique musical combination of many different styles - and the list goes on and on. I could give you heaps of other examples about how original metal bands we do have in this country. The main thing is that every band has its own, very distinctive sound and what they do, they do it really well and basically don´t leave anything half-finished, ya know? I think that´s also the reason why they are appreciated and admired highly by different medias, fans, etc. It´s also great because if you are actually able to make an impact on people by your music, and gain at least a decent following by all of it, it really encourages other, young new bands to come up with something off which people could say you guys have really maintained a sound of your very own and your music comes across as very good and all that, ya know? You basically work out as a ´role model´ for younger bands, giving them some ideas and just proving them that if you are devoted to work your ass off for your band and give it some time to develop and mature, it really starts to pay off some day if a certain amount of luck is with you there as well.

Luxi: Some of these successful Finnish metal bands (Nightwish, C.O.B., Sentenced, Stratovarius, etc.) have become somewhat famous, even on an international scale due to the fact that some successful albums have been recorded and mixed by real sound gurus, both Mikko Karmila and Mika Jussila.

Tuomas: Yeah, I totally agree with you again. In my opinion Mikko Karmila is the best producer in the whole Europe nowadays to produce and mix albums of especially Heavy Metal bands. I haven´t heard anything but praises about his works for some certain albums. He´s the man, really...

So, Hiili Hiilesmaa didn´t have anything to do with this album?

Tuomas: Nope. Mikko Karmila mixs the album and we as a band, produce it by our own.

Luxi: What´s a personal dream you´d like to reach with Nightwish some day? Somehow I believe your appetite for even ´bigger things ´still hasn´t been fulfilled yet...

Tuomas: A question with many possible answers... Well, a concrete wish could be that one of our albums could reach a gold record status in some other country than in Finland. That would be really special for me, absolutely!! In Finland it seems like we can rather easily reach that status by each of our album and single, so it would be really neat and special if one of our releases reached a magical gold status in Germany or in Sweden or just about in any other country besides here in Finland. I would personally rate that very highly in the Nightwish´s career for sure. In Germany you need to sell 150,000 albums to go gold and for singles it´s 12,000 sold copies. Both OCEANBORN and WISMASTER albums have sold 60,000 copies each there thus far, so we still have a long way to go to get those gold albums from that particular country. I believe it´s not impossible even if we are still rather far behind from those sales.

Conquering the States

Luxi: Hmm... what about the States then? Have your albums been released there as well?

Tuomas: I have to say that I´m not too aware of how many copies our first three albums have been sold there thus far. I only know that Century Media´s U.S.A´s department put them out there like a year ago or so, but they unfortunately haven´t kept us informed about those selling figures at all. What we have noticed we have started getting some more feedback from that direction, so I guess at least a bunch of people have been interested in our music anyway. I wish to hear more from that direction how our albums have been sold there up to this day, tho.

You haven´t played in the states yet either?

Tuomas: No. We did two gigs in Montreal, Canada, though. It was great to play there, too.

Luxi: The general opinion is that it´s really damn tough to make yourself known especially in the States by your music cause that country is large as hell and they have always had their own culture for the trendiest bands. How do you honestly think they will understand your music there?

Tuomas: To be really honest with you, I think that probably our songs have ´too much´ information for them, he-he!! Well, seriously again... I think for many American people it´s really important that bands could be true for themselves and they are able to do gigs all around the country. I honestly think it starts from there already; from a ´root level´, ya know? No doubt, it would be extremely vital and important even for us to get a tour arranged there. But according to the album sales for our first three albums over there and basically our own schedule these days, I think it won´t be happening any time soon.

So, you have at least a tiny figure about the sales of your albums in the States?

Tuomas: I wish I had, but I simply don´t. Ewo, do you know anything about this...?

Ewo: About 10,000 copies have been sold for the WISHMASTER album through Century Media over there this far.

Mape: Oh, that ´much´ already?! I had no idea... It´s quite much actually(!). Are you serious Ewo by all this info now?

Ewo: Yes I am. That´s how I have been informed by them just recently anyway.

Luxi: What about the first two Nightwish albums Ewo? Have they done any good in the States at all?

Ewo: Hmmm... 4000-5000 thousand copies together, I assume. Many of those copies have gone there as imports, ya know.

(Mape is the editor in chief in the biggest Finnish-written metal webzine, and he just called

Mape: And now Ewo you are certain that you didn´t count the sales from Canada to those numbers, eh?

Ewo: No, I did not. I guess Mape is the right guy from us who can answer the best possible way to your questions about Nightwish´s future in the States as he has assumable followed it with a more closer eye than I have thus far.

Mape: I wish I had done that, but I have left my homeworks undone lately... shame on me, he-he!!

Ewo: Anyways, I have to admit Nightwish surely ain´t a very easy nut to be cracked for people in that particular country, but hopefully more and more people could find their albums from the stores over there and start digging them as much as we Europeans do. Time will certainly tell...

Luxi: Well, I guess that´s the whole interview, so thank you Tuomas for your time and let´s hope that CENTURY CHILD will get you recognized in even more obscure countries around the world. Here´s a t-shirt as a promotional gift for you, for a well-done job with the interview. Wear it  with pride and honor, he-he!!

Tuomas: Excellent!!! I just thought I could be in the serious need of a clean shirt for myself right now, he-he!! And thank you Luxi very much for this great chat, too!! I really appreciate it!!

Interview with Nightwish 100

Source: Drumhead Magazine
May/June issue 2009

Jukka Nevalainen (Nightwish) on Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater)
I was in high school and the biggest Stratovarius fan on earth, when a guy who hung out in the same circles told me about a band called Dream Theater, and their drummer Mike Portney. I was such of a diehard Stratovarius fan, and of their drummer Jörg Micheal, that I would have none it, but he just kept on bullying me. Finally, I decided to check them out and went to the nearby record store to buy 'A Change Of Seasons' and 'Images And Words'. From the very first moments of listening to 'Images And Words' I was hooked. I guess I immediately listened to the album four times in a row. I was just totally blown away. I mean it was something I had never heard before. I'd been listening to a lot of power metal like Helloween and stuff, but this was just something else. The rhythms and the complexity of the songs were on totally another level.
It took me al while to see Dream Theater live for the first time. It wasn't until 2000 when they came to Helsinki on the 'Scenes From A Memory' tour, and the show was just plain perfection. the amount of musicianship onstage was just overwhelming. Mike Portnoy also held a drum clinic at a club called Tavastia, and I naturally went to check him out. It was extremely educational, and I got many good tips. After the clinic, Mike signed stuff for the audience, and I was the very first one in the queue to get a poster signed. Needless to say: that poster hung on the wall of my crib for several years and reminded me of those great moments. I had ordered my new Tama Starclassic set just a few days before the drum clinic, so when they announced that the very set Mike played during that clinic would be sold for the highest bidder, I was extremely dissapointed. I considered canceling my order next day to be able to bid, but then decided not to. Now I think it was definitely the right decision.
The colours on that set were...quite distinctive, so it would have been weird to play it on the future Nightwishtours.

Interview with Nightwish 99

Source: The Voice Finland
Jussi Mäntysaari haastatteli Tuomas Holopaista.

Interview with Nightwish 98

Source: The Voice Finland

Tuomas Holopainen kertoo kiertueen vaikeuksista
Tuomas Holopainen kertoo kiertueen tuomasta stressistä sekä uudesta Made in Hong Kong -nimeä kantavasta live-cd:stä.

Tuomas Holopainen pohtii millaista uusi Nightwish-materiaali voisi olla
Tuomas Holopainen pohtii kiertueen rankkoja puolia sekä tulevaa levyä.

Marco Hietala kertoo Sapattivuosi-projektistaan
Marco Hietala kertoo uudesta Sapattivuosi-nimisestä projektistaan.

Interview with Epica 2

Source: Tartarean Desire
18 April 2006

This interview with Simone Simons of Epica was done face to face by Audrey Dujardin on April 18th, 2006.

Epica are one the fastest growing young gothic metal bands from the Netherlands. They are the spearhead of Transmission Records, and everyone recognizes their red-headed singer, Simone. Young Simone has nevertheless been with the band since it was in the spotlight, and during this conversation with me she was kind enough to go into much detail about vocal technique, touring and speculation on the next Nightwish frontwoman.

Hello! I have many questions about singing, but first of all i was wondering if you could please tell me a little about the tour and how that is going, and if you have any touring stories ?

Okay... I think this is about the 8th or the 9th tour... We've done so far, apart from the shows we do every week end. We've been touring in Europe many times, Mexico, Brazil, Chili, Argentina, Turkey... We've been to many many countries. I must say that every tour has its own stories. But we've had some bad experiences with health problems. I got really sick once in Mexico, I had to go to the hospital and get surgery, and another singer had to replace me for a few gigs, and sometimes you are really over-tired and you almost faint on stage. But most of the memories are really really good. Our fans are really wonderful, we have really a lot of support from the French people. From the start when we didn't even have the Phantom Agony, the French fans were already there for us and it keeps on growing every year. When we were here in Lyon last year, there were 300 people, and now it doubles! So all the touring is paying off very well and we have another tour planned in September, we go to America and Canada, and before, around June, we go to the UK also for a few days.

And you're doing the summer festivals?
Yeah we're going to Germany, M'era Luna, some other small festivals...

And last year you were at Fury Fest...

Fury Fest in France? Yeah last year we played there. Yeah that was in the same week end that we also did Graspop in Belgium.

And on this tour, did anything unusual happen?

Yeah we had already one flat tire, and also the car, it started, but it couldn't connect so it would drive so... Tomorrow when we go to Paris, they have to take the bus to the garage to fix it... We can drive it now but it might break down again, so when we go to Paris, it goes away to be checked, again. So far... Yeah , some band members getting really drunk and we can have fun with them but no groupies in the bus so far!

Yeah, you're in charge!


Ok, now I would like you to tell me how you prepare for recording a new record. How do you rehearse, how do you prepare your songs, and how do you work in the studio?

First of all, Mark has a home studio, we record the songs there, we record the basic vocal lines, we adapt the lyrics to it. Some songs you work on for a year, and some vocal lines you have in 15 minutes. For example the Phantom Agony, I made the vocal lines in 15 minutes. And Blank Infinity, it took really long. And then once we get into the studio, it's also the producer and the man who is the vocal coach, they listen to the songs, and then we write the lyrics to new vocal line, we record it and I listen to it, and I listen to it all day long and the next day I record my vocals for the album.

So you write the music first, well the melody, and then you adapt the lyrics to the melody...

Yeah it's 50/50. Sometimes you have a really cool melody and then some lyrics get into your mind, but now our new album is going to be a concept album, so we made already titles for songs, and when you sing it, you can't just write any lyric. So this time it's a little harder for me. So when I have inspiration, I grab my laptop and I write down some words and then if I have a really cool melody, then Amanda Sommerville, the vocal coach, she's American but she lives in Germany, and she is really good in adapting to it because she has a large vocabulary, so she can change the lyrics a little bit too, to the melody.

So you compose most of the vocal lines then?

Yeah. In collaboration with Amanda.

So what else do you sing apart from metal music?

I started off with pop and jazz singing lessons when I was 14, and then I quit after a year, when I was 16 I started classical singing lessons, and I'm still taking those, so classical singing has my priority, but with Epica I try to mix everything a little bit, because singing classical gets a little bit boring for me too. And Epica doesn't need all the time classical vocals so I switch a little bit. I listen to all kinds of music, it's not just metal. I like pop too, and I'm listening to Sade and Katie Melua are like pop jazz so I'm not really a fan of the really oldschool jazz.

So when you sing opera what do you sing for example?

Everything, also musicals, the Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Mozart...

What techniques do you use when singing? I didn't notice that on stage you used too much belting...

I do belting with some songs, Kreatus, Blank Infinity, Mother of Light, it's really the really loud vocals. I do belting. But no one really taught me the right technique, I just do it the way it feels good... In the past, my throat was like (gasp) killing me so you try to learn your body and adapt it the way it feels good. Also my vocal teacher, he didn't teach me that. I asked him how to do it and he said he heard some kind of techniques, but for me it works out fine the way I do it. A lot of the technique is coming from the whole body, it's not just about singing with your vocal cords, you need a lot of support from your belly, your diaphragm, especially when you have to sing really high... And you have to feel it in your toes sometimes.

I think that your singing range has improved a lot since the beginning of Epica. I can see that you practiced singing high pitched, and although you are mezzo-soprano, I think you're pretty close to singing in the soprano tessiture...

Yeah, I'm mezzo soprano, second soprano. I can sing high... I have sung in a choir for a while, but I was singing the alto because... The alto version is really difficult because it's mostly a melody that goes... It's a contra-melody, and soprano melody is usually the first melody of the choir. But if it's constantly really high, then my voice gets tired. But now I progressed in techniques and my voice has matured a little bit and I've been practicing a lot with playing so many times, so it's getting better at the higher voice. Because I know the technique, it doesn't feel bad or it doesn't hurt. Even if I'm really tired, if I sing with technique, my voice still manages to it. But sleeping is the most important.

And if you have to sing high for a long time, do you find it easier to use a classical/opera voice?

Yes it's easier for me to sing really high with an opera voice than with a pop voice. I think it's because the classical voice is a little bit artificial in a way. And if you really work on the technique, you can get really high. I was teaching one girl, and she said she was an alto, she couldn't sing higher, and I was practicing simple vocal scales with her, and she was getting higher and higher, and she said ‘wow, I didn't know I could sing that high!' It's all technique.. So women or guys, they're like natural talents. They can do that by themselves. But I had a really good teacher for 4 years now and I owe a lot to him.

How often do you take lessons with your teacher?

For 2 or 3 years I went every week, but last year I maybe had 4 lessons. Or 10 lessons. Because when we are on tour, a lot... I used to have an (system) where every week you get 40 minutes, but now I just bought 20 lessons and I can come whenever I want to, I just have to call them. So it's not really regularly.

How about the vibrato in your voice, is that natural?

Yes. It's natural, but if you first stretch the note, you have to work it with your belly, and once you want to get vibrato, you let it go, and it comes naturally.

And does your vibrato work with the whole range, or does it have to be lower notes only or high notes only?

No... Both.

Can you sustain it for the whole length of the note?

Yeah, if I have to!

And can you stop it if you want to?

Yeah. I can stretch, vibrate, stretch, vibrate, vibraaaaaaate, stop!

So how do you prepare before you go onto the stage?

I don't drink alcohol, I don't smoke, I sleep a lot, I just eat a lot of candies, that's my sin! My ritual first, when I started off 2 or 3 years ago, was 2 hours before the show ‘oh I gotta start preparing!' But now I can do it within 20 minutes make-up: 5 minutes, it used to take me one hour! I sing a little bit, but mostly when we have soundcheck I sing already before soundcheck, so I'm kind of warmed up for the rest of the day. If I'm tired, I drink Red Bull, or I eat an apple to relax my voice, I listen to some music to seclude myself from the rest of the people in the backstage, I get dressed... And if I have to I can be ready in 30 minutes.

And is there anything that you have to avoid? Like certain food, like chocolate, or getting mad?

I don't get mad that quickly, I'm really calm. Chocolate is really nice during the day, but it's not so good before the ... I don't really like to eat it before the show actually... Orange juice is really nasty! I don't drink it that often any more. I just drink water and Red Bull. There's a little bit of a side effect to the Red Bull....

Makes you burp!

Yeah! If you see me doing this on stage [pushes down on the stomach] that means I'm trying to push it down, cos if you feel it coming then you are restraining yourself from singing really well and you're afraid to go ‘BURP'!!! And that happened to me a couple of times ... if you see me smiling really really loud, then I just burped!

So now that you can sing the higher notes, you're ready to sing in Nightwish!


I'm not saying that you WOULD, but you definitely COULD...

Yeah, Nightwish is the reason why I started to sing in that way. My interest for metal has been there for a while or so, but that was more the dark stuff, the black and death metal... But now it's more pop metal. I even can say that I like Within Temptation songs. They are good, it's not the way they were before, but it's really catchy, it cheers me up, they have happy songs! But Nightwish.. Yeah, I can sing all the songs easily now with my range. When I was practicing, earlier when I was 16 or so, singing on the toilet or something, and I was like **gaaaggg*** ‘ I cannot do this!' but singing lessons have improved it.

So about Nightwish then, do you know anybody who would be suitable for it? I mean I see some people who would be CAPABLE of doing it, like Floor Jansen, Sharon (den Adel), but definitely NOT Cristina Scabbia...

Her style is totally different...

Yeah, and she doesn't have the range, I think she never even took any singing lessons... Who else would you see?

Hum... I think that's probably it! I think Tarja fitted the best with Nightwish, she has a really nice voice, I really like her vocals on Angels Fall First and Oceanborn, I don't like her vocals that much on Century Child and Once, because she's not suitable to sing in the pop style.. When she sings really dark opera, I love it very much, especially Walking in the Air, that version... That's one of my favourite songs.... But now, the way it happened... You actually only know one story from Tuomas, you don't know... I actually met Tarja once, and she was really distant. But I know before a show you want to have time to yourself and there are always people who want to have pictures... When you are in a band, you have a 24 hour job, in a way, but everybody needs privacy so I cannot judge if she is really a bitch... We women sometimes have our days !![everyone laughs] But the guys have it too, but they don't show it that much! But Tarja was the best for Nightwish. And I think, well if they have a new singer, Marco is going to sing more on the new album. He's going to get a bigger role. Like in Tarot.

Well except Tarot is already pretty much Nightwish without Tarja... I really liked Wilska's voice, back in the day... Remember?

Who's Wilska?

You know, the guy who did a couple duets with Tarja...

Oh yeah, that big guy? The one who went WOOOWOOOWOOWOOOO?

Yeah... Now he has his own band, with clean vocals and everything...

I met him once with Finntroll. It was in the UK, in Birmigham...

Yeah, last year!

Yeah, he was there. He's really big! He lost his bag, and we had to bring it to him, I remember... Yeah , in the airport.. We found a strange bag, and we were looking in it, and it was his. But are you from France?

No, I'm Franco-American...

Ah because you don't have zee frènche accènte... [all laugh] Like some French chicks!

I have so many questions about singing... I could go on forever....

Are you a singer as well?

Yeah, but not as good as you!

You want to be the successor of Tarja in Nightwish?

Haha, don't we all!

Well singing isn't about going on stage, doing a show that you CAN sing... It's also a way of expressing your feelings. Some people do kickboxing, some people do singing!

Well like you said, its a 24 hour job, and it's true that so much changes in your voice from one day to the next... I mean if I can't sleep, I can't sing, I can't support my breath, simple as that. I know how little you get to sleep on tour, so I don't know how you manage it...
Well I can't sleep really good on the tourbus when it's driving, I sleep really light, I have to sleep in a hotel if I want to sleep good... But if the bus is leaving in the middle of the night, I can fall asleep before the bus leaves, and then it's ok... But I've had a couple times when I lost my voice, it's just because of lack of sleep, hanging around in the backstage of venues, not getting good food, that's really bad. It's like playing on a guitar with no strings you know? If you don't get food or good sleep...

So is there anything that you would suggest to do, if you're in those conditions?

Well what's important, it's not only the body but it's also the mind. It's really powerful. So if you think ‘I'm not going to make it' , then you won't make it. You should try to relax as much as possible, eat fruit, drink tea, and just try to find a quiet corner and just meditate... Even if you don't sleep, if you can lie down for a while on a couch and just relax, listen to nice music so you don't go crazy, or get stressed, cos you just can't make it... But also technique is very important. If you're tired.. If I'm in a really good day, then I don't have to may so much attention to technique. It almost goes automatically. But if I'm really tired, then I really have to think about it.

So after all that do you still think that you can improve your voice?

Yeah! I think that every day you're growing... I'm 21, and the voice is matured around 38, especially the opera voice can get better and better and better... But I already feel the improvement from 3 years ago, that it's not such a big effort to sing, it goes quickly. In the past I thought ‘I cannot sing that high' but even my vocal teacher was going higher and higher on the scale, and I say ‘I can't make it!' and he says to me ‘if you think you can't make it, you can't make it. You have to think positive, and think higher, and you will get there'

So basically, you never hurt your voice? Well apart from when you tried to belt without having technique...

Yeah, when you swallow, and it's really really painful... But the technique with the belly, to contract it and to relax your throat, breathing techniques... that way it's really open doors for me so...

Now let's imagine, tomorrow in Paris, that your voice is gone and you cannot sing. Who is going to replace you in this band?

In the band? From the guys, or someone else?


Well maybe I'll put on a CD and I'll pretend!But we did that in the past, with Marivi when we were in Mexico with Legion of Hetheria, and their singer was really young, but she had a good voice, and she was a fan of Epica so she knew all the lyrics, and we were happy , we were lucky that she could do it. But if my voice is gone, we can't do a show.

Now, tell me, where do you think you and the band will be in 5 years? I mean I know that Transmission is pushing you guys a whole lot, releasing a DVD after only one LP for example... I fact, I found that they were pushing you a whole lot more than they were pushing After Forever, for example... Do you see any reasons for that?

Well the collaboration between Transmission Records and After Forever (came) to it's end now. They didn't think on the same line. We have to work together. If Transmission has a good idea, you should grab it. With Transmission we had a very good debut album, but they wanted to put a lot of money in the production so if you're a good band, you cannot make a CD, only a shitty demo, and no promotion and no press and no ads in the papers... there are so many other good bands out there that you don't know of because they don't have a good record company. And Transmission Records is one of the last record companies that are willing to put a lot of money in a new band and we are very thankful to them. We like the ideas they have, and they also listen to our ideas if we an idea, they are always influent. They got new staff, Transmission, really good people, so they have improved as well.

So in 5 years where will the band be then?

I think here again!! [Laughs]

Yeah but not in this venue. In that venue over there, that holds 20 000 people!

Yeah well if it's going to double everytime we come back, then yeah, it will be a bigger venue. But yeah, we are working on the new album it's going to be recorded at the end of this year, it's going to be released around spring, next year, we're going to continue touring, maybe there will be another score album.. I think that it will be every year the same routine and let's see if we can get bigger and if we can play more...

How about America?

Yeah, we're coming to America this September with Kamelot, we're going to do about 18 shows! Yeah I'm looking forward to that, I heard some wild stories about the Americans and I'm happy that Kamelot is there so that I can be with my boyfriend!

Heh well I think that's about it! Would you like that add anything?

No I think now you know everything I know! Thank you so much!

A big thank you goes to Simone for being so friendly, and to the promoter, Serge, who was prompt at putting us all in good conditions and catering to all our needs!

Interview with Sirenia 2

Source: Metal-Queens Webzine
By Joshua Becker & Jessica Clingempeel
February 2009

MQ: Did you ever follow Sirenia when Monika was in it or did you know them personally?
Ailyn: I would like to be able to say I followed Sirenia from their beginning, but in fact I knew about them through Myspace, a couple of months before they contacted me to audition. Until then I had never heard them or met them.

MQ: What made you audition for Sirenia?
Ailyn: I applied without knowing it! My sister was in Myspace searching for Metal bands to add as friends, and this is how we found Sirenia. We listened to them and saw their video clips, and we loved them so much we sent a friend request. When they contacted me to ask me if I wanted to attend to the auditions, I visited again their Myspace and I saw they were looking for the new vocalist, and the way to apply to the job was just sending them a demo or adding them as friends and having songs in your profile. I had being searching for new musical projects, and it was a surprise when I realized I had applied to Sirenia without knowing it! :)

MQ: How has Sirenia changed your life?
Ailyn: The truth is that my life is almost the same, the only difference is that now I travel a lot, and I didn't do it before. Before being in Sirenia, I had only been out from Spain once. Also, now I've got new friends and meet many people, but my life is still the same with little differences. :)

MQ: How are you liking your new position in the band?
Ailyn: I'm very happy. Sometimes, I think about it and it seems I'm going to wake up at any moment and realize it's been all a dream! :) To me, being in Sirenia is very important, I had never dreamt about being in a band so important as Sirenia. Also everybody is treating me really good. As I always say, right now I'm living my best moments. :)

MQ: What was it like to be introduced to a new band and to make new friends?
Ailyn: Really good! I'm a very shy person, but I also enjoy to meet new people, so I'm pleased.

MQ: Do you see yourself or the band still around in 5 years?
Ailyn: Of course, I see myself in the band in 5 years and, if I can, I'd love to be on it many years later.

MQ: What do you hope will become of Sirenia now that you are the new singer?
Ailyn: At the moment I want to enjoy it day by day. And enjoy what I do with my band mates. Also I hope the new album will be really successful!

MQ: What were you doing before Sirenia?
Ailyn: Before joining Sirenia, I was working with some Granada musicians for a project, but it went wrong. They wanted to do Spanish Pop-Rock and I wanted Gothic Metal, so we didn't agree and left the project at the beginning of it. And just after leaving, Sirenia came. :)

MQ: What is the musical inspiration for Sirenia? Like, not necessarily the lyrics, but the music itself?
Ailyn: Morten composed the tracks from the album as he's always done with all Sirenia albums, so the stories behind each song are only known by him and he never reveals his inspirations. He prefers each person to give the meaning they want. So I could give you my opinion, but I don't want it to be like a statement of the real meaning, so I'll keep it to myself. :P

MQ: Where does this inspiration come from, regarding other bands or styles of music?
Ailyn: You should ask Morten about his sources of inspiration when he composes, because as I said before he's the one creating the lyrics and the only one who really knows the meaning of each song and what he wants to say with his music. :P

MQ: Have you had any plans to do a tour in the United States, or, are you ready for a United States tour?
Ailyn: At the moment I can't tell you if we will tour the US, but I can tell you we would love to do it and tour the US, it would be really great!

MQ: I'm not sure if I remember hearing this in an interview, but where does the name Sirenia come from?
Ailyn: Sirenia is a name based on the Sirenia in Greek mythology. The sirens lured sailors into death with their beautiful singing and overwhelming appearance.

MQ: Being from a different culture is there anything you are adjusting to that is different?
Ailyn: Nothing. I think almost everything is the same.

MQ: Have you learned any Norwegian since being with the band?
Ailyn: Sincerely, I've just learned some words here and there, so right now it's better to concentrate on my English, but when I'm more comfortable with my English, I'd love to learn Norwegian.

MQ: Did you have to move to Norway or do you still reside in Spain?
Ailyn: Aun sigo viviendo en España, pero tengo pensado en cuando me sea posible mudarme a Noruega. I'm still living in Spain, but I'm thinking about moving to Norway when I'm able.

MQ: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Ailyn: I've always love to travel and there are a lot of places I'd love to see, but I've always wanted to go to Japan. I can't find the words to explain it, just I feel attraction for it, I'd love to go and see it all. I love it so much that when I was 18, I joined a languages school and studied Japanese for about 4 years.

MQ: What would you say, as a musician is the hardest part of it?
Ailyn: All known musician's life is hard, but at the same time it's beautiful. You meet many people and see lots of places, so I love it!

MQ: Ever since you were a kid what has been your dream and has that dream been accomplished yet?
Ailyn: Since I was a kid I dreamt about being in the music world, and as I grew up I dreamt about being part of a band, so I think my dreams have been accomplished. Of course I've got many dreams, but only time will tell if they become true or not ;)

MQ: Were you raised in a musical influenced family?
Ailyn: Yes. In my mother's family they all loved music. My aunt was a singer and my grandfather and some of my uncles played some instruments. They never studied music, but were good at it, but didn't play it as professionals.

Interview with Tarja 4

Source: Metal Queens Webzine
By Jessica Clingempeel +Various
July 2008

Jess: How has the writing process been going? How is it compared to My Winter Storm?

Tarja: It has been very successful so far. I think I will have a good amount of new material until the end of this year, in order to start recordings in the beginning of next year. This time I am much more present in the song writing process than on my first album. The reason for this is that last time there was not really time for it, nor I had enough courage for it since the writing of songs had never before been my strongest field in music. Now I feel I am much more free to explore what lies in my heart and soul. I am very happy to be able to put it in words or melodies. You will definitely hear even more personal album than MWS is.

Jess: In your blog you revealed the title "The Crying Moon", as a song for your new album. What inspired the title?

Tarja: It's about the suffering and pain that the moon witnesses between two persons that are fully in love but cannot be together.

Jess: You said before you were still thinking of an album title, any ideas on one yet?

Tarja: I have an idea for it already, but I give myself still more time to decide it.

Euphoric_Thunder: Will you be doing another cover song on your new album and maybe a possible duet with someone well known?

Tarja: I would love to make another cover song for the album. I have also an idea for it already, but that needs a lot of work. Let's see if I manage to finish what I have started. Finding great duet partner is another challenge on this album. It would be just great to have one duet for the album.

Lady Christabel: Will the new album be very different stylistically from My Winter Storm? If so, what different elements can we expect to hear in this album?

Tarja: The new album will continue the line of MWS, but it will be more mature and personal album. The concept of the sound is getting more clear to me and also the elements that you already could hear on the first album, will be even more present on the new album. There will of course be new things for you to discover, but that I cannot tell you yet. :)

Josh: What was the greatest challenge you faced when creating My Winter Storm? Have you faced any challenges yet with the new album?

Tarja: To get the album ready in a tight schedule that my record company gave us for MWS was the biggest and hardest challenge to work out. It is always a challenge to make a new album anyway, because what matters for me the most is the fact that the album really should be my own creation. I love taking challenges because they keep me making progress as a musician. I need to train a lot to become better with my singing also.

Jess: People here in the United States are still hoping for tour dates, any news yet?

Tarja: Unfortunately, no matter how much I wanted to go there to sing for you, this depends on my record company and their support. They were not ready for the tour in USA at this stage. I will keep on trying...

Aaron: What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in life apart from music?

Tarja: I have been able to understand better the world we are living in, through travelling and seeing different cultures. I would really have a much smaller view of life without having had that chance.

Jess: Are there any other goals in life you would love to achieve?

Tarja: I wish to live a healthy life and to have a chance to be a mother one day. To be an artist is my great privilege in life. I hope I can keep on performing, because singing is my way of life.

I wish we could have had more questions but we all know you are very busy and you have an upcoming tour in South America awaiting your arrival. I hope you have fun during those shows and congratulations on the success of My Winter Storm. Also, happy early birthday Tarja! :)

Thank you so much for your kind words! I really hope to see you soon in USA. As everything in life, you always need to keep on dreaming so that one day your dreams would come true. With me it has always been like that. God bless you all and once again, THANK YOU!

With love, Tarja

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